Dynamic Book Duos: Animals Doing Their Best Within Their Limitations

Please welcome authors Anna Lazowski and Lynn Leitch to Dynamic Book Duos– a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with coordinating educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s Dynamic Book Duos pairing features animals doing their best, within their limitations.

PERFECT PAIRS: Animals Doing Their Best, Within Their Limitations!

T. Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes written by Anna Lazowski and illustrated by Steph Laberis and Dinos Driving written by Lynn Leitch and illustrated by Scot Ritchie features animals doing their best, within their limitations. Aimed at the youngest readers—ages 2-6—T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES and DINOS DRIVING look at why size matters. Why do things fit together? When does size get in the way? Why are some things hard for certain people/animals, but easier for others? Both books include resource pages to further explore animal features.

Fun fact: both authors and one of the illustrators are Canadian.

Book 1: T. Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes

Bees can’t ride bicycles, penguins can’t play ping-pong, and zebras can’t go zip-lining. No one is good at everything, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying! Here is a funny and encouraging picture book for any child learning how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, spell their name, or do a variety of new things.

“The implicit value of trying new things with a good attitude in order to learn is augmented by the silliness of the colorful cartoon drawings, which add a positive objective to the overall message.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An excellent read-aloud choice … I definitely recommend it to early childhood educators, teachers of preschool and kindergarten classes, and as an acquisition (buy more than one copy, please) for elementary school libraries. Highly recommended.” —CM Magazine

“Combining animals, humor, and social-emotional learning, this ridiculously funny alphabet book is ideal for back-to-school when preschoolers and kindergarteners are learning new skills.”—Teachers Who Read

Book 2: Dino’s Driving

Eight speed-loving dinosaurs choose their favorite vehicle to drive. What kind of car would a tiny Velociraptor drive? Perhaps a mini car? What would suit a vegetarian Iguanodon or a Triceratops? Long-necked brachiosaurus isn’t old enough to drive yet, but that won’t stop her from thinking about the car she’ll drive when she grows up.

“Young readers who sit firmly in the Venn diagram overlap of dinosaur lovers and car enthusiasts will be thrilled… Amusing fun from the “Car”-taceous era!”—Kirkus Reviews

“I recommend this book to parents or teachers of young children in the age 3-8 range who enjoy dinosaurs and are beginning to explore repetitive beginner books with increasing independence.”—YA Books Central

Dinos Driving would be an entertaining addition to picture book collections for young ones interested in both dinosaurs and things that go. Recommended”—CM Magazine

Educational Activities

Emotional Awareness

  1. Choose three animals from T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES and describe the way you think they might be feeling when they can’t do the thing they’re trying to do.
  2. In DINOS DRIVING, Brachiosaurus isn’t old enough to drive yet. Can you tell how she feels about this? How does she imagine she’ll feel in the future?
  3. Draw a picture of yourself doing something you may not be able to do today, but you will be able to do in the future (like some of the animals in T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES). Then draw a picture of yourself doing something you feel confident doing (like the dinosaurs in DINOS DRIVING).

Things that Go Together

  1. Choose three animals from T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES and describe an activity you think they would be *great* at doing.
  2. Think of a car or truck (or a bus or a boat) and which dinosaur might best drive it. Why do you think that?
  3. In DINOS DRIVING, each dinosaur chooses a vehicle that fits them. Pick three animals from T. REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES and describe a vehicle that would fit them. 

Meet the Authors

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

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