Danny and the Dinosaur

Danny and the Dinosaur is a popular children's book by Syd Hoff, first published by Harper & Brothers in 1958. It has sold over six million copies and has been translated into a dozen languages. The book inspired two sequels by Syd Hoff: Happy Birthday, Danny and the Dinosaur! and Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp. It also won the distinction of "New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year".

Danny and the Dinosaur
Cover of the 1958 hardcover edition.
AuthorSyd Hoff
IllustratorSyd Hoff
Cover artistSyd Hoff
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherHarper & Brothers
Publication date
Media typePrint
Preceded byPatty's Pet 
Followed bySammy the Seal 

Danny and the Dinosaur is designated an I Can Read! Book.


The story opens up with a young boy named Danny going to a science museum, where he sees other things. Finally, he immediately gets drawn to the dinosaur exhibit and is delighted to find a living dinosaur. He thinks that the dinosaurs are not real. Then he says he thinks it would be nice to play with one. One of the dinosaurs come up to Danny. And the voice belongs to one of the dinosaurs. The voice turns out to be a real dinosaur. The dinosaur says, "And I think it would be nice to play with you". Both agree to play with each other, and Danny rides out of the museum on the dinosaur's neck.

Danny and his dinosaur friend, they embark on an adventure-filled day, including:

  • the dinosaur confusing a building for a rock
  • attending a baseball game
  • eating ice cream instead of grass
  • going to the zoo (although Danny and the dinosaur get themselves thrown out of the zoo by a zoo man because the people are distracted and see Danny and the dinosaur rather than the zoo animals; the zoo man tells Danny and the dinosaur to leave the zoo so the zoo animals can be looked at)
  • playing games, especially hide and seek, with other children

The dinosaur is well-intentioned throughout the story, for he helps a lady cross the street, takes Danny across a river and lets the children use him as a slide. The dinosaur is also a celebrity, as the illustrations show hundreds of people leave the zoo to play with Danny.

Finally, Danny meets his friends. The other children get to ride the dinosaur too. Then, Danny and the children all play with the dinosaur for the rest of the day.

At the end of the story, all the other children, except Danny and the dinosaur, return home at sunset. The dinosaur says goodbye to Danny. But when Danny asks the dinosaur if he can come and be with him (and says, "We could have fun forever"), the dinosaur says "No", and tells Danny his reason. He says, "The best I have had in a hundred million years. But now, I must go back to the museum. They need me there". After telling Danny about how the museum needs him, Danny (obedient about the dinosaur's words), says goodbye to him.

After the dinosaur is out of sight, Danny goes home alone. While walking home, Danny thinks about one of the things first stated in the story; he wants a dinosaur for a pet. But he (even though he wants to keep the dinosaur as a pet), realizes a dinosaur is too big to live at his house, by saying, "Oh well. We don't have room for a pet that size anyway. But we did have a wonderful day”. After he concludes his line, he goes back inside the house.

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