Friday, March 10, 2017

Dinosaur Zoo

Baker, M. (2016). Dinosaur Zoo. Troy, OH: Gypsy Publications.

Children's Picture Book / Life-lessons / Balance


Welcome to the Dinosaur Zoo, home to playful dinos and one very busy zookeeper! Sally works hard every day, taking care of the zoo and its prehistoric inhabitants. Once they're fed and clean, the dinosaurs are eager to play with their favorite zookeeper. But, Sally has too much to do. She can't just stop working, or can she? This colorful, interactive story teaches the importance of balancing work and play - for kids AND adults!


HALL WAYS REVIEW: In author Misty Baker's latest children's picture book, Dinosaur Zoo, readers are transported into a zoo full of cute and entertaining dinosaurs. The dinos are full of creative ideas and ready to have fun, but their young zookeeper, Sally, makes the dinosaurs sad because she won't stop working to play. 
Melissa Quinio’s illustrations (possibly done with oil pastels?) are darling. Drawings are richly colored and textured, which brings a lot of depth to the pictures and also gives readers plenty to study on every page. The characters' faces are really expressive and the depictions of the sad dinosaurs are so heart breaking, you'll want to hug the book. 

Misty Baker writes an engaging story, which parallels the real world, that will likely get young readers to think and react. Children (and adults reading along with them) may recognize Sally's work-comes-first behaviors and will enjoy Sally's solution. Also engaging is the print itself -- a variety of font sizes, word shapes, and colors are used to encourage the readers to interact with the text and story. 

It's fun to see the chores that have to be done in a zoo full of dinosaurs, and kids will get a giggle out of Sally feeding the dinos and shoveling "dino doo."  Each dinosaur has a favorite playtime activity, to which kids will relate within their own friend groups. Be ready to snort (I did) at Velociraptor and his corny jokes. (What did a triceratops sit on? You'll have to read to find out!)

The book is well-written and includes a section at the end that is directed to caregivers of children. Where the story implicitly conveys a message that kids need their adults to play with them, the "Word to parents and guardians from the author" is explicit about it. Fortunately, Baker offers some activities that seem like playtime but help the chores get done.  

There are some big dinosaur names, so younger readers will need some help with pronunciations. This is a great book to use as either a read-aloud or read-along to foster dialogue between children and adults, and I highly recommend it. 

Thank you to the author for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give.  I feel privileged that she has shared another of her fabulous stories with me. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Misty Baker is an author, freelance editor, and shameless chocoholic. From the age of three, she’s been in love with the written word. Some of her very favorite books were classics such as Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables, and a few lesser known gems like Never Tease a Weasel and Beatrice & Vanessa. She loves writing children’s books that are fun, interactive, and teach valuable lessons to both children and grown-ups. Published titles include: Quentin’s Problem, Fuzzy Buzzy’s Treasure, Dinosaur Zoo, and A Home for Rosie with more in the works.

Misty also writes romance under her pen name Mysti Parker. Her short writings have appeared in numerous anthologies. On any given day, you can find her writing the next best-story-ever or lost in a good book at her home in Buckner, KY with her husband, three children and too many pets.  

Connect with Misty:


Click for Hall Ways Review!


  1. Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Kristine!

  2. I love that she's included caregiver information in her book and encourages interaction for both young reader and adult.

    1. It is really a bonus. She gives very specific activities so it's easy, even if the adult isn't feeling creative.