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June 13, 2014
Publicity - Random House Children's Publishers

By Julie Middleton

Are The Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?  is a story of a Dad and his son on a day out together with some surprising consequences.

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The inspiration for the book came from my son Harley, who was then 5 years old. I was taking him and his Dad (Sam) to the train station. They were going up to London for Harley’s first trip to the Natural History Museum. There was a lot of excited chatter about the dinosaurs they might see and then silence, as a look of panic crossed Harley’s face.“The dinosaurs are dead aren’t they, daddy?” Sam smiled, “Of course they are.”  Harley looked as if he didn’t really believe it!

Waving them off, I started to play around with the words in Harley’s question, enjoying the potential for alliteration. At the end of my ten minute drive home I had Are The Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?  The title of a book I had no idea I was going to write!

So the idea was there, it was just what to do with it!

I liked that Sam was so certain in his reply and that Harley still had a notion that something could happen. That was the seed of the idea to play with. I knew that I needed different dinosaurs with different characteristics to make the story work, so I began researching dinosaur facts. I wanted to include some dinosaurs that weren’t as well known as others, like the Ankylosaurus.  Knowing that he had bony eyelids made him perfect to wink at Dave.  I wanted to make sure that each dinosaur did something with Dave that was possible for that dinosaur, so the Deinocheirus, with the longest arms, was perfect for tickling. Once I knew which dinosaurs I wanted to include and the actions that Dave would see: winking, tickling, grinning, roaring…  I then had to think of a way of making these facts and actions into a story.  I liked the idea of Dad not believing what was actually happening, and chose to find a rhythm to his responses, “It’s just your imagination….”

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And with Russell’s wonderful illustrations the book came to life.  When an advanced copy popped through the post, seeing Are The Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? completed was so special.  Harley looked at the book somewhat nonchalantly. “It’s good Mum,” he said, “but you wouldn’t have that book if it wasn’t for me and Dad!”

Indeed I wouldn’t.

Happy Father’s Day!

Want to read it for yourself? Order your copy now!



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The Dinosaurs are Roaring for Dads on Father’s day!

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    Random House Children's Publishers | One of the UK’s largest children’s publishers
    Random House Children's Publishers | One of the UK’s largest children’s publishers