WE ARE THE DINOSAURS by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by some guy called Ben Clanton is now in stores!


Not familiar with the song? Or haven't seen the new music video for it? Check it out below!

I had oodles of fun illustrating this book! There are few things I enjoy drawing more than dinosaurs. Here are some of the first character drawings I made when brainstorming how the book would look:

Ernesto I think is my favorite. I like Ted a lot too but unfortunately Ted was cut from the book. I have the tendency despite my minimal style to want to introduce more characters in a book than what can reasonable fit in 32 or 40 pages (typical picture book length).

While I love to draw dinosaurs, illustrating this book proved to be a bit of a challenge (in a good way). I have illustrated other people's words before (the MAX books by Wiley Blevins and the Jasper John Dooley series by Caroline Anderson) but WE ARE THE DINOSAURS is a song that millions of people know and it has been around for 20 years now so there wasn't really a chance I could request changes to the wording to make it easier to illustrate. Also, the song doesn't have a clear story narrative. It involves lots of marching and romping and eating and sleeping and that sort of awesomeness, but the song lyrics are a bit light on plot. so it was up to me (and Laurie with the addition of the speech bubbles) to create one through the illustrations.

I wanted to stay true to the tone of the tune and what ended up coming to me was this group/troop of adventurous young dinos. I ended up pitching a number of different storylines to my editors at S&S and Laurie. We ended up going with one that centers around an expedition our young dino explorers make to check out a big mountain (which might just turn out to actually be a volcano). It was suggested that speech bubbles might help flesh out the story as well, which also meant the names I had made for the characters got to be in the book.

These are some of the first sketches I made for the book:

One of the other challenges I had when making this book was drawing more backgrounds than I typically do. Admittedly they are still very simple backgrounds!

And these are some of the final illustrations:

I think the illustration above of the dinos stomping and making the earth flat is my favorite in the book. I also particularly enjoyed painting the sunset images for the end of the book and also the endpapers (a map which changes at the end).


"Popular children’s musician Berkner (The Story of My Feelings) brings another of her songs to the picture book crowd with this vibrant adaptation. Berkner’s lyrics provide a rowdy framework for the story—“We are the dinosaurs,/ marching, marching./ We are the dinosaurs—/ whaddaya think of that?”—and Clanton’s (Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea) zippy cartoons create a parallel visual adventure that brings Berkner’s words to life.... Berkner’s fans and newcomers alike should find much to enjoy about in these boisterous, independent-minded dinosaurs’ adventure." (Publishers Weekly, January 2017)

"The lyrics to Berkner's 1997 dinosaur marching song are kitted out with a plotline, dialogue, additional sound effects, and big, very simply drawn prehistoric scenes...young audiences will have no trouble chiming in as they march about and roar in chorus." (Booklist, March 2017)

I will soon be illustrating another Laurie Berkner song! The next song happens to feature something I enjoy drawing even more than dinosaurs (yes, hard to believe) . . . monsters! Any Laurie Berkner fans know which song I'm talking about?

You can get the WE ARE THE DINOSAURS BOOK at your local bookstore or at one of these links:

PLUS, here are some coloring pages from scenes in the book: