Book #49 Danny and the Dinosaur

Danny and the Dinosaur -- CoverSyd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur, published in 1958, still reads as beautifully as ever. I hadn’t read this one to Ray in a while, and when he pulled it out I studied the illustrations more closely than the last few times I’d read it to him. I’ve always been struck by how charming the dinosaur is, but I’d forgotten how childlike and playful he is, too, much like Danny and his friends.

If you read Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, you would know that Syd Hoff was coached and prodded through much of the writing of  Danny and the Dinosaur by this illustrious editor.  Ursula Nordstrom was the director of Harpers Books for Boys and Girls for over thirty years, and most of the books she published came from authors we know well today — Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Margaret Wise Brown, to name only a few.  When Ursula Nordstrom teases out the story from Syd Hoff you feel like you’re witnessing a little bit of literary history as well as gaining some insight into the author/editor relationship.  It’s interesting to think that books with three hundred words or less are edited and worked over as much as anything you find in an adult book department.  And, just as an aside, if you are interested in the amazing relationship Ursula Nordstrom shared with some of the most famous names in children’s literature, then Dear Genius is a must read.  It has a great cover illustration by Maurice Sendak, too.Danny and the Dinosaur -- shaking hands

Dear Genius -- Cover

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