Dinosaur Adventures is a new collection of stories from Miles Kelly written by Fran Bromage. As part of the Dinosaur Adventures blog tour we are thrilled to introduce T Rex and The Big Scare, illustrated by Chris Jevons.
Rex is a feisty young T Rex, his only ambition in life is to be a big, scary dinosaur. He spends his days practicing his loudest roars to scare the other, smaller dinosaurs. The only trouble is this doesn’t help him make many friends.
The other dinosaurs are so annoyed with Rex’s constant attempts to scare them that they come up with a plan to try and show Rex how it feels when he charges around the place scaring everyone. But a T Rex isn’t scared of anything right? Wrong! It turns out all it takes to get Rex frightened is a tiny little bee.
Thankfully, a wise Triceratops named Trudi comes along to put a stop to the dinosaurs bickering show all of them that everyone is afraid sometimes but it isn’t something to be made fun of. Full of lively illustrations and plenty of extra prehistoric pals that are sure to please any young dinosaur fan.
We’re very pleased to welcome author Fran Bromage and illustrator Chris Jevons to our blog to answer our questions about creating books and of course, dinosaurs. First up, our questions to Fran:
You have written a broad range of books from fiction and non fiction to educational aids, do you have a favourite style of writing?
I’m not sure I do have a favourite style – they’re both very different. I love writing to a brief because I know I need to break down facts or information into manageable parts, but still make them accessible, fun and engaging for children. Writing the Get Set Go Grammar books was fascinating, because while I know enough grammar to do my job, I’ve never actually tried to explain how grammar works before. My English teacher always used to say that if you’re trying to explain something and it’s getting messy or complicated, imagine what you would say if you were explaining it to a child – and now that’s the basis of my job! As far as writing fiction is concerned, there’s nothing like the thrill of getting your own ideas and characters on paper, exploring a plot and covering a blank piece of paper with your own imagination. I don’t think I could possibly choose just one style!
We love linking play ideas with our picture books, using your knowledge of Montessori methods do you have any good dinosaur based play ideas that would work well with these stories?
Ooh, lots of ideas! Here are some of the favourite play ideas my son and I have discovered:
– try to make as many words as you can from one of the longer dinosaur names. Can you rearrange the letters to make your own name or the name of a friend?
– use small toy versions of the dinosaurs, bury them in a small sandpit and go on your own archaeological dig for them
– draw or copy the characters on to multiple squares of paper, cut them up and make a matching game (you can make this harder by finding out which era they lived in and what they ate and creating matching squares for those too)
– construct a dinosaur habitat using an upturned box – kitchen roll tubes trees, cardboard dinosaurs and paint. Go on a nature walk to collect leaves, stones, feathers to add to the habitat and, obviously, hunt for dinosaurs while you’re on the walk!
– create Earth’s timeline using a very long piece of string or ribbon (Montessori called this ‘The Long Black Strip’). It’s an absolute favourite of mine because it’s so visual and has a real impact on helping little ones get their heads around phrases like ‘billions of years’. Help them to look up facts and work out numbers, then along the string mark off when dinosaurs existed, find out how long the different eras lasted and be amazed at the tiny amount of time humans have been around. Use luggage labels as tied-on markers so they can practise writing out all those amazing dinosaur names too!
What is your favourite dinosaur or dinosaur fact?
I think Parasaurolophus is my favourite dinosaur, but I like Stegosaurus too – did you know a Stegosaurus brain was only about the size of a walnut!
Thank you for answering our questions Fran, some wonderful dinosaur play ideas for us to try out there too.
And now, over to Chris, illustrator of T Rex The Big Scare:
How did you become an illustrator and did you always know that was what you wanted to do?
When I was growing up, I loved to draw and I was fascinated by Dinosaurs. I either wanted to draw for a living or become a palaeontologist and study Dinosaur bones. As I went to school, I realised I was much better at drawing than I was with Science. So I decided to pursue a career in art instead.
I studied art and design at college followed by Multimedia Technology at University. Whilst at college, I illustrated a mock children’s book of Alice in Wonderland. I also met and interviewed a local illustrator called Ray Mutimer, who drew many Postman Pat books over the years. Both inspired me to follow a career in art and design.
After University, I worked as a junior graphic designer. I realised I was much better suited to drawing characters and illustrating stories, than I was at designing websites and leaflets! In 2009, I decided to quit my day job and become a freelance illustrator. The first jobs were mostly working with local design firms on various projects, until I landed a few animation contracts. I began working closely with a really nice animation studio, illustrating and animating for adverts and museum interactions.
In 2012, I sent my portfolio to the Bright Agency – a children’s illustration agency. A month later, I was represented by The Bright Agency working on my first book project. Since joining Bright, I’ve exclusively illustrated children’s books for many publishers, including board books, picture books and now fiction titles. I love working in children’s publishing and illustrating fun stories! I’m looking forward to illustrating many more books and hopefully writing a few of my own.
Is there anything you find really tricky to draw and if so, what do you do to overcome that?
I find bikes and vehicles a little tricky to draw. I prefer to draw characters, dinosaurs, monsters, spooky stuff and trees!
What is your favourite dinosaur or dinosaur fact?
My favourite dinosaur is a Baryonyx. I remember the Baryonyx being discovered for the first time when I was younger. I’ve been to the Natural History Museum several times now and seen the skeleton of a Baryonyx. It’s amazing to see in person!
Many thanks for your answers Chris! And if you’re feeling inspired to get drawing then Chris has also shared a step by step guide on how to draw Rex the Dinosaur.
T Rex The Big Scare is available to buy for just £4 directly from Miles Kelly
The lovely people at Miles Kelly have given us three complete sets of the Dinosaur Adventures books to giveaway. Each set comes in this roarsome bag and also includes a dinosaur puzzle and colouring book. The bags include all 4 Dinosaur Adventure books plus a dinosaur play pack.
For a chance to win simply follow our blog by subscribing with your email address and comment below with your favourite dinosaur or dinosaur fact.
There are more chances to win over on Twitter, find us – @AcornBooks
Giveaway open to UK residents only, ends midnight 23/08/18.
Many thanks to Miles Kelly for sending a copy of T Rex The Big Scare for review.Follow @Acornbooks