Danny and the Dinosaur

by Syd Hoff

Paperback, 2008



Call number




HarperCollins (2008), Edition: 50th Anniversary ed., 64 pages


A little boy is surprised and pleased when one of the dinosaurs from the museum agrees to play with him.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
I grew up reading Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, a beginning reader originally published in 1958 as part of the prestigious I Can Read series, and have many fond memories of Danny's day of adventure with his prehistoric friend. Who hasn't fantasized about having a pet dinosaur, or wondered what
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those fossilized skeletons in the museum would look like, if they suddenly came alive?

Recently, a post on one of my favorite children's literature blogs, American Indians in Children's Literature, drew my attention to the problematic nature of the illustration in which Danny, at the museum for the day, is looking at a display containing an Indian, a bear, and an Eskimo. I was surprised, because although I had always found it odd and inappropriate that the achievements of non-European peoples - Native Americans, Pacific Islanders - would be collected in a museum devoted to "natural" history, while similar artifacts from European peoples are labeled "art," and find their way to a different sort of museum, I had no recollection of this illustration, from my childhood reading. Needless to say, I decided to track down a copy and reread, especially when - by sheer coincidence - we chose Danny and the Dinosaur as one of our July dinosaur-themed reads over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong.

So... does this single illustration - which unquestionably hearkens back to outdated notions of racial hierarchy (some of them still with us, unfortunately) in which Europeans are somehow more fully "human," while non-Europeans are in the same category as animals - ruin the story? Will it harm the young reader? Is Professor Debbie Reese right? Should Danny and the Dinosaur be pulled from shelves? My answers are, respectively: Yes and No, Yes, Yes, and No.

To wit: I don't know that it's fair to say that the illustration "ruins" the story, since I can only speak for myself, but I do know that I will never be entirely comfortable with this title again. I will always be thinking of that illustration, what it means, and what harm it might do. Which brings me to: yes, I think images like this, for all their seeming innocence - perhaps because of them? - can do harm. Perhaps not lasting, terrible harm, all on their own, but if combined with enough similar material, not insignificant harm either. Meaning, of course, that yes, Professor Reese is right. She's right to point out this illustration, and she's right to question it. But finally, no, no I don't think, as she does, that it should be pulled from the library shelves. Leaving aside my passionate belief that the library should be a repository for the printed word, not some revolving-door collection based on popularity (or even morality), I also think that titles such as this fade away when they have no more significance, and it's worse than useless trying to forbid them. Worse, because we give things immense power by forbidding them...

I gave this three stars, because it would be untruthful, in light of my childhood love of it, to give it less. But although I wouldn't support its removal from the library, I also wouldn't use it to teach children to read, I wouldn't recommend it as a bookseller, and, should I ever have children of my own, I won't be bringing it into my home.
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LibraryThing member dchaves
The movie 'Night at the Museum' where the dinosaurs come to life. But at the end of this book the dinosaur must go back to the library because 'they need me there'. Don't we all want a pet to play hide and seek and lose as easily as the dinosaur.
LibraryThing member dchaves
The movie 'Night at the Museum' where the dinosaurs come to life. But at the end of this book the dinosaur must go back to the library because 'they need me there'. Don't we all want a pet to play hide and seek and lose as easily as the dinosaur.
LibraryThing member eayerby
This is another one of my favorite books by Syd Hoff. It's so cute. I love all of the illustrations and the adventures that Danny and his dinosaur goes on.
LibraryThing member conuly
It's not as charming as all that, and definitely written in a different era - no non-white characters, zoo animals in cages, that sort of thing. There's nothing wrong with that - no sense judging it on our mores - but as it's not overly interesting either I can't sensibly give it more than three
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LibraryThing member mercedesromero
This book is a fun story about a boy and his new frind the dinosaur. They go throughout the town playing games and exploring the city.
LibraryThing member KristinWhite
This book is great for children kindergarten to second grade. It tells of the day Danny played with the dinosaur from the museum. A great way to inspire a child's imagination.
LibraryThing member tterrill
Danny and the Dinosaur is a book about a little boy who has an exciting day after a visit to a museum. Danny really loves dinosaurs. While at the museum Danny wishes that he had a dinosaur and his wish comes true. Danny and the dinosaur spend the whole day together. They went all over town and had
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lots of fun. At the end of the day, Danny was sad to see the dinosaur go back to the museum but he knew that his house did not have room for a pet that big.

This was a fun book to read. At some point in or lives, every kid longs to have a special pet. The kind of pet that is too big for our house.

This book should be read before a field trip to a museum. The students could discuss what they hope to see at the museum. It could also be used when teaching young children a lesson on real vs. not real. You could tell them that dinosaurs are real and that you can see them in a museum, but it is not real for a dinosaur at the museum to come alive and go to town with you.
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LibraryThing member rustedharmony
Danny finds a dinosaur in a museum and walks around with him around town. He causes some problems and helps a few people. Danny is able to see parts of his town that he wouldn’t have seen without riding on the Dino’s back. After awhile everyone wanted to see the dinosaur which causes too much
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attention. Near the end the neighbor children played hide and seek. After everyone left, the Dinosaur had to leave but they had the best day in a hundred million years. The book seems pretty long but each page only has a few lines with a huge picture covering the top half of the page. Sixty-four pages may seem threatening to a little one but I think the pictures and mystery lures in the reader. I wanted I know what the little boy did with his new dinosaur friend but I think I was more interested in the pictures. For a beginner just starting to get used to long books, they would enjoy it but not if you are just started to get used to it. For an expansion, Danny could go back in time to spend a day in the Dinosaurs world.
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LibraryThing member SavanahDayhoff
Syd Hoff’s Danny and The Dinosaur is a book all about adventure and friendship. After a morning at the museum, Danny and his new found friend, the dinosaur, spend a fun-filled afternoon together. They play together, help others, and play with Danny’s friends. At the end of the day, the dinosaur
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has to return to the museum, and Danny goes home remembering his wonderful day.
This book is such a great beginning reader. The sentences are short and the illustrations are fun. I most like that the reader’s imagination can run wild with Danny and his dinosaur as they go through the town. I think it would be so much fun to read this to a class and then have the kids each write and illustrate their own version.
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LibraryThing member kagetzfred
This book follows the newfound friendship of Danny and his dinosaur playmate. They meet at the museum and spend the whole day together going on various adventures. They play with Danny's other friends as they wander throughout the town to find fun activities to do. At the end of the day, the
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dinosaur must go back to his home so they return to the museum. This book has simple and comic-like illustrations that would be fun for students to mimick. It also is a good story for talking about friendships no matter what someone else looks like or how different they may be.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Danny takes one of the dinosaurs from the museum out and they have a lot of fun exploring and enjoying themselves. The dinosaur is helpful and fun to be with, but at the end of the day he has to go home.
LibraryThing member caitlinbennison
Danny goes to the museum and hopes to play with a dinosaur that he sees. That is just what happens. They go all over the town together, and they cause a bit of a scene at the Zoo. Danny asks the dinosaur to stay, but the dinosaur says he has to go back to the museum.
LibraryThing member kedwards1991
The illustrations are fun and it gives hidden messages to the reader. For example, a billboard in one of the pictures says “Always brush your teeth” and a sign reads “keep off the grass” and Danny and the Dinosaur obey the rules they encounter. I think the dinosaur could be Danny’s
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imaginary friend and it shows them spending the whole day together, which makes it relatable to kids. The author encourages the reader to keep an active imagination throughout the story and encourages being imaginative in real life.
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LibraryThing member smdorr
Danny goes to the museum to meet an unusal friend, a dinosaur. They become instant friends and spend the day out playing. They eat ice cream, play hide and seek, and stroll around town. This is a book about friendship in the most unusal places with the person/thing you least expect.
LibraryThing member brankacheek
One day when Danny went to the museum one of the dinosaurs came to life. Danny and the dinosaur spent the whole day playing together. They watched baseball, went to the zoo, ate ice cream, and played hide and seek with Danny's friends. Then at the end of the day the dinosaur went back to
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the museum.

Personal Reaction:
This is a fun book. My son loves this book because he loves dinosaurs. I love the illustrations. They look like they are done with colored pencils.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. I would use this book to introduce a lesson on dinosaurs.
2. I would have the students write a story of what they would do if they could play with a dinosaur for a day.
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LibraryThing member babshe1
Danny and the Dinosaur, by Syd Hoff was one of my favorite books as a child. My mother used to read this book to me all the time, but now that I am older I read the book and really I was kind of disappointed. I searched and searched for a main idea, and really the book didn’t really seem to have
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any purpose other than to entertain, so I don’t think this book has a big idea. I will say I very much enjoyed the pictures in this book, mostly because they brought back memories, but also because they are well done and very vibrant in color. The images also work very well with the store, allowing me to flip the pages, not read, and still understand what is going on in the book. One thing I did not like were the characters, not that the main character is bad, but that fact that there is no diversity. Books from this time are full of different kinds of children, from handicap, to Hispanic, to white, or black children's books are full of different characters. This one of the other hand has no cultural diversity, and every character is a white boy or white girl of the same height and size, none of which are handicap. This doesn’t make the book bad in my eyes, just means that it is really out of date and maybe they should change the images up to catch up with the times. Another part of this story I didn’t really like was the lack of plot. Not much happens in this story, and what does happen has no ups or downs. The story likes a climax and in turn lacks a resolution, which also makes the story really have no meaning. Even with all of this being said I still love the book and in some years will read it to my child.
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LibraryThing member Fjola
A great early reader! It's about a little boy befriending a huge dinosaur, leading to them doing tons of fun stuff together. What 5 year old wouldn't love that? It's imaginative enough that my kid kept reading through all 64 pages without wanting to stop except to admire the fun, colorful pictures.
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I can see why it's a classic.
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LibraryThing member DannieN
This story, by Syd Hoff, was not a favorite of mine among all of the childrens literature that I have read so far. It is an "I Can Read" book, which should be used for children who are still learning sight words and practicing their fluency. The story has a simple plot, a boy who find a dinosaur
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that comes to life in a museum and spends the day playing with the boy. The illustrations are very simple paintings, that will allow students to focus more so on what they are reading than what is in the pictures. This story should not be used a whole-class read aloud or part of a whole-class lesson.
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LibraryThing member EmilySansovich
I enjoyed these books when I was a child and the kids I read them to enjoyed them all over again! They are great books for beginner readers.
LibraryThing member uufnn
Syd Hoff was a Jewish-American cartoonist and children's book author, best known for his classic early reader Danny and the Dinosaur. His cartoons appeared in a multitude of genres, including advertising commissions for such companies as Eveready Batteries, Jell-O, OK Used Cars, S.O.S Pads,
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Rambler, Ralston Cereal, and more. Source: Wikipedia. An I CAN READ BOOK. Fantasy of a children playing with a dinosaur from a museum.
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LibraryThing member LibrarianRyan
I don't remember reading this as a child. It was a fun story and I see why it is still around. It is rather long for an easy reader, but it flows well.
LibraryThing member kimity
Danny is a boy who loves dinosaurs. One day when he goes to the museum he wished that he could play with a dinosaur. The dinosaur come sto life and he and Danny have a fantastic day. They walk about town helping others, they go to a baseball game, a zoo, and then they go play with Dann'ys friends.
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They play all over the dinosaur and then they play hide and seek It is hard for the dinosaur to hide since he is so large. When the day was over the dinosaur explained to Danny that he must go back to the museum because they need hom there. They had a great adventure that day though. I really enjoted this book because what kid hasn't wished for something at a museum to come alive and play. The illustrations were ssimple colored pencil drawing. I thought they complemented this simple story.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9 inches


0064440028 / 9780064440028

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