Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs: Groovy Joe, Book 1

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs: Groovy Joe, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Silly dog story about sharing by Pete the Cat creator.

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age 3+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Three types of dinosaurs pictured though not named. Other text in art to encourage reading includes sign on truck and tub of ice cream and captions such as "dinosaur spit."

Positive Messages

"It's awesome to share!" When you have a challenge, you can think creatively. Singing helps.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Groovy Joe is laid-back and not bothered by challenges. He shares. He plays music to help him and others through rough spots. The dinosaurs wear bibs, sit on chairs, and use spoons to eat.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs, by author/singer Eric Litwin -- writer of the first four books in the wildly popular Pete the Cat series -- introduces a dog character named Groovy Joe. There's not a lot of story -- dinosaurs arrive to eat Groovy Joe's ice cream -- but plenty of silliness in this celebration of singing and sharing, with illustrator Tom Lichtenheld (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) mining the fun. There are lots of participation possibilities as kids are invited to call out repeated refrains -- "ROAR!"  like the dinosaurs -- and sing the song. Downloadable songs -- one in both English and Spanish -- and audio of the text are available on Scholastic's website.

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Parent of a 3-year-old Written byJamie B. April 3, 2018

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What's the story?

In GROOVY JOE: ICE CREAM & DINOSAURS, a shaggy dog spies some "Haagen Dogs" ice cream and settles in with a tub and a spoon when a succession of three dinosaurs show up -- one little, one big, and one HUGE -- to share the ice cream. Groovy Joe proclaims, "It's awesome to share," and everyone sings a simple but catchy lyric: "Love my doggy ice cream! Love my doggy ice cream!" Joe shares until the ice cream's gone, then turns the tub upside down and uses it as a drum so all can continue the song.

Is it any good?

The debut of this guitar-strumming shaggy-dog character Groovy Joe is full of lighthearted fun. When Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs asks, "What did Joe say?" kids can shout out the repeated refrain, "It's awesome to share!'" Sharing a smallish tub of ice cream with big hungry dinosaurs would give anyone pause, but together, Joe and the dinosaurs eat the ice cream and sing the simple, repeated lyric, "Love my doggy ice cream! Love my doggy ice cream!" Well, who doesn't? The up-tempo bluesy-rock song is downloadable on the publisher's website.

Tom Lichtenheld's art gets down and silly and throws grown-ups enough bones -- the ice cream's called "Haagen Dogs" -- to keep them from getting bored. The call-and-response will get wiggly kids participating and singing along, and though dogs + ice cream + dinosaurs might be an odd pairing, it's kid-pleasing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sharing. How would you feel if dinosaurs wanted to share your ice cream, the way they do in Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs? How do you feel when friends want to share? Does it help to sing the song?

  • What silly, funny details can you find on each page? How do they add to the story?

  • If you download the song on the publisher's website, what instruments can you hear? Can you find any of those instruments in the art?

Book details

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