Is Dinovember the Next Elf on the Shelf?
November used to be a boring time for children. They would fall down from their Halloween sugar high and anxiously await the start of Elf on the Shelf. But thanks to Refe and Susan Tuma, the final month of Fall now brings about fun and fantasy in the form of Dinovember.
In 2012, Refe and Susan were caring for their then 2-year-old son and 4- and 6-year-old daughters — a challenge for any couple. But the Tumas' son has a health problem that caused him to tense up throughout the night. Refe and Susan would take turns walking with him, singing to him, and trying to rock their boy back to sleep. They were exhausted and unable to give as much attention to their daughters. Then, one sleep-deprived night while Susan was cleaning up the kids' clutter, an idea struck her.
"Susan found these toy dinosaurs and on a whim she set them up on the bathroom sink with some toothbrushes and some toothpaste," Refe recalls. The two thought the scene would simply make their girls smile. Little did they know that their sleep-deprived creation would be a big hit. Refe and Susan were woken the next morning by their two daughters, jumping on the bed and screaming that the dinosaurs came to life. As soon as they saw the girls' reaction, the couple knew they had to keep the tradition going.
Two years and 60-something creations later, Refe and Susan's side project has become both a viral hit and potential bestseller. Earlier this month, the couple released What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night ($20), which Refe describes as "a physical extension of Dinovember." Featuring 80 scenes, from a sophisticated team party to a wild pillow fight, the book also includes profiles of each dinosaur and a behind-the-scenes look at how the dinosaurs come to life.
Keep reading to see some of Refe and Susan's favorite scenes from the book and to get a few tips from the creators themselves.