Tim's Adventures with Dino Detective
by Daryl Bryan
Trafford Publishing

"A dinosaur, a real one, I could be rich if I turned the dinosaur in. I always thought something was suspicious about that house."

Tim is admiring the artwork he made and hung on his wall when he realizes his painting of a flower is gone and replaced with a painting of a girl. Knowing that he didn’t paint a girl, Tim lays a magic paper on the ground from which springs Dino Detective. Dino has come from cartoon land and is allowed two hours to help Tim solve the mystery of his missing painting. Dino Detective gets right to work; he has seven rules for detective work and immediately begins looking for clues. As the two sleuths interview possible suspects, they make notes and collect evidence. Solving the case just in time, Dino Detective has to return to his world, leaving Tim and his sister begging Dino to take them with him, a situation which hints at further adventures to come.

In the wide range of genres that picture books can fall into, mystery is one of the less common ones. In this, Bryan has found his niche. Reminiscent of the long-running animated PBS series Dragon Tales, Bryan’s prehistoric sleuth is a good character with which young children can relate, although the pipe-smoking homage to Sherlock Holmes is a bit of a faux pas in today’s market. Conceptually, the idea has an interesting appeal, and a younger audience can identify with the artwork as it resembles their own. In addition, the work can also be used by teachers of young children as an example of how they, too, can craft and illustrate their own story with the materials they have at hand.

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