The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes and Sarah Massini is an absolutely spellbinding tale which has very quickly rocketed up my personal list of the very best picture books.
This gorgeous rhyming story opens with a little girl called Marianne digging beneath the sand, Mary Anning-style, to uncover a dinosaur. And uncover one she does, ‘stony bone by stony bone’. As she settles down to sleep that night, she makes a wish for her new bony friend to come to life.
And it does! After tap-tapping on Marianne’s window, the dinosaur is ready to take her on a magical adventure:
A bendy neck is offered for a girl to slide right down,
and magic is now promised in the sleepy starlit town.
Sarah Massini’s illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful as we follow Marianne and her new friend on their adventures. Across the sea they roam, through a forest full of long-forgotten creatures and on, and up, to a magical moonlit island in the sky full of children and dinosaurs.
I can’t be the only reader now keen to do a bit of beach digging myself. There’s magic buried everywhere, we just need to uncover it – stony bone by stony bone!