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The Girl and the Dinosaur


Hollie Hughes, Sarah Massini (illus)
Age 5-7 years

Local folk are worried about Marianne because she spends so much time alone. But she is happy, especially when she discovers ancient bones on the beach and puts them together to make a dinosaur. Marianne wishes and wishes for the dinosaur to come to life and in her dreams, it does, taking her to a magical island. Marianne is no longer alone when other children start coming to her beach to dig for dinosaur bones and seek magical adventures of their own.

A story to inspire the imagination. The beautiful illustrations make this a great book to pore over and return to again and again and the rhyming text will encourage children to join in as they get to know the story.



Share the story

Read aloud
Before you begin reading this story to your child look at the cover illustration together. Talk about what you both see, and what the story might be about.

Read the story aloud, taking time to look at the illustrations as you do.

Join in
When your child becomes familiar with the story they can join in with the reading, perhaps completing some of the rhymes if you leave gaps as you read aloud. They might like to join in with Marianne’s wish, the words in bold describing movement such as ‘swooping, gliding and flying’. You could have fun making sound effects, eg for the ‘tap, tap’ on the window and you could make up some magical music on a glockenspiel or jingle bells for the page where the dinosaur comes to life.


Talk about the story

  • Each of you could choose a favourite illustration to look at again and talk about together.

  • Talk about unfamiliar words and phrases eg slumber, summit and ‘leap of faith.’

  • Look at the illustration of the dinosaur skeleton together and talk about the bones eg spine, skull. Bend your own fingers to think about the number of bones in your fingers, then think about the number in legs and arms too.

  • Would your child like to go to a magical moonlit island like Marianne? How would they like to get there? What sort of creatures would there be and what could they do there?

Watch the story

From Daddy Mojo

Things to make and do

Draw a picture
Your child could draw a picture of their own imaginary magical moonlit island. What creatures would be there, what would you do?

Make a dinosaur skeleton
Collect together lots of sticks and pebbles and arrange them as a skeleton in a sand pit, or a tray of soil. You could use the illustration of the dinosaur in the book as a guide.

Make a wish
Help your child to make up their own wish beginning ‘With all my heart I make a wish and dream it will come true….’

Make up a story
Make up a story together about another night with the dinosaur and Marianne – or an adventure your child would like to have with a dinosaur they find who comes to life. You could record the story you create to listen to it again or write it down. You could do this for your child and they could illustrate it or they might like to write it themselves. 

Find out more

Read more books by author Hollie Hughes  

Titles include Princess Swashbuckle and Ninja Nan

Find more books illustrated by Sarah Massini

Titles include:

The Boy and the Bear by Tracey Corderoy and The Velveteen Rabbit with Marjery Williams


Find out about the girl who really discovered dinosaur bones, Mary Anning. 

Read Stone Girl Bone Girl by Laurence Anholt and Sheila Moxley


Go on a virtual tour of the Natural History Museum to look at the dinosaur bones