After 10 years of parenting, I have been spoilt with the volume of kid’s books I have read, skipped pages to, or listened to my kids learn to read. There is truly an extraordinary wealth of talent that goes into the sheer thousands of books and illustrations.
But there is also something that has increasingly concerned me for some time: PLOT HOLES. Yes, even my kid’s books are not immune to narrative gaps and implausibilities. Whilst my kids may not notice (nor even care), I feel it is my parenting duty to highlight these inconsistent, illogical or implausible story-lines.
First up is Dinosaur Dig! by Penny Dale.
Safety First, Dinosaurs!
Firstly Penny, what were you thinking?
These dinosaurs avoided extinction 65 million years ago, but the least you could do was adequately protect them on a building site. You have dinosaurs casually sat in a variety of bulldozers and diggers with no personal protective equipment whatsoever.
Working with heavy equipment, loud noises or dangerous materials can cause serious harm and despite checking the pages several times, I couldn’t see any hard hats or safety goggles. I suppose a high-visibility jacket is too much to ask for, and I don’t even want to ask about whether a thorough risk assessment has taken place.
Where did the water come from??
Each page of this unlikely story features a different part of their no-doubt structurally unsound swimming pool being made. Sorry, I should have said SPOILER ALERT. Anyway, it starts off with a hole being dug, then the walls being built, and so on until it culminates with the dinosaurs diving into ‘the pool they built themselves’.
Yet at no stage do ANY of the dinosaurs physically fill up the swimming pool with water. They spray blue paint and concrete, but no water. How did the water get in there? Did it rain a lot? Was there a flood? Did Triceratops hit its unprotected head so hard it filled the pool up with its tears? So many unanswered questions.
Can Dinosaurs Really Co-exist?
This is possibly the most implausible aspect of the entire book, even after seeing dinosaurs driving bulldozers, controlling complex machinery with opposable thumbs, building a swimming pool, and yes, even after one is caught reading a newspaper whilst on the job…
Yes, the most cavernous plot hole of them all is the fact that carnivores and herbivores seem to be happily co-existing. They are setting aside their differences and working together for the greater good. If the last few years has taught me anything, it’s that we live in a deeply polarised society and I simply don’t believe that a blood-thirsty Carnosaurus (or whatever it is) would be content to frolic around building a swimming pool with its dinner.
Our youngest (2 years old) loves this book which I’m sure is due to the brightly coloured dinosaurs, array of noisy diggers, and the silly story. It also helps with counting, as it starts off with one dinosaur doing something, then two dinosaurs, then three, and so on until they finish building and all jump in for a splash. A really simple and quick read too and the kids didn’t have any nightmares over the unsafe working environment…