Meat eaters kindred spirits at T-Rex book reading –

Woolly mammoths, T-Rex’s, and cave lions joined mat time and grabbed little minds’ attention at a rural kindergarten.
A dozen pre-schoolers had all eyes and ears on Nelson author Geoff Gudsell when he treated the Hira Rural Kindergarten pupils to a reading of his new, self-published books, Big Woolly Mammoth and Old T-Rex.
Gudsell said he was inspired to write the books after he saw a picture of a Lego dinosaur his young grandson, Theo, had made.
Gudsell started “playing around with silly little rhyming things”, he said, and it wasn’t until a few years later that the stories he sent to his grandson were turned into illustrated books.
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“I believe the books have turned out really well.”
Gudsell has a close connection to the illustrator, Ned Barraud, after having taught him for one year at Nayland College.
Neither book strays away from the reality of dinosaurs eating each other or that mammoth DNA may still exist to create an elephant/mammoth cross one day in the future, while always sticking to rhyming verse to attract younger ears.
After hearing about the Tyrannosaurus Rex that was “a fearsome thing, with his size and height and everything”, head teacher Trish Cooper asked the children to raise their hand if they liked the book, which was met with a great showing of little fingers. When asked to raise their hand if they found it “scary”, their hands remained down.
Gudsell said when he began the book, he decided to “not use baby words”.
Instead, there’s no beating around the bush, including words like Cretaceous, herbivore and audacious.
It was amazing what kids could cope with, he said.
Leo Langi-Wells, 4, was captivated by the book as he had been to the Nelson Provincial Museum’s, Dinosaur rEvolution exhibition the previous day.
When asked what he liked about the Old T-Rex book, he said “the skeleton” because he had seen a similar one at the museum.
Leo said his favourite dinosaur was the T-Rex, “because it eats meat and I like meat”.
Stocked at various bookshops around the region and in Christchurch, Gudsell said they were also in most libraries and several schools around Nelson.
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