Review of Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens

Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens
by Laurie Krasny Brown; illus. by Marc Brown
Primary    Little, Brown    32 pp.    g
9/20    978-0-316-53452-9    $17.99

Sharing, fairness, choice, respect, ­truthfulness — most young people are well acquainted with these concepts; the Browns (Dinosaurs Divorce; Dinosaurs Go Green!; and many others) use these principles to help deliver an engaging civics lesson. The inviting second-person text speaks directly to “kid citizens,” encouraging them to view themselves as participants in our government. The lively panel illustrations, featuring Marc Brown’s green cartoon dinosaurs (back after a decade-plus hiatus), expand on Laurie Krasny Brown’s text and add levity to the discussion. Each of nine sections focuses on a concept, relating it to daily life and then demonstrating how it manifests in a democracy. “Share Equal Rights” explains equality this way: “You probably know how it feels to be left out or included. Inviting kids into your game is also sharing.” This leads to a broader interpretation: “Sharing also takes place in a country. When no one gets left out, then everyone has equal rights.” Describing fairness as “a way of showing respect” and stating that “good rules help make fairness possible” lays the groundwork to talk about justice. Sections on how to be a judicious consumer of information (“Look for Truth”) and what free speech means (including tips on “How to Have an Argument”) should be required reading for all of us — of any age. This optimistic and accessible guide to civic responsibility concludes with the charge to “Stand Up for Democracy” — a message now more important than ever. “Words for Kid Citizens to Know” are appended.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kitty Flynn
Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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