by Carol Hinz, Associate Publisher of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books
We all know that dinosaurs are extinct. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and they most definitely don’t play football! But in the fictional picture book series Lisa Wheeler and Barry Gott created, they do all of these things and more.
After the publication of Dino-Thanksgiving, we received some valuable criticism about the name of one of the football teams, which was a variation of the former name of the Washington Commanders NFL team. The name had originally been created for the book Dino-Football, which was published back in 2012. We took this feedback to heart and decided to make a number of changes both to Dino-Thanksgiving and to Dino-Football.
For the team name, Lisa Wheeler brainstormed a number of different options that sounded fitting for a team of carnivores and had two syllables so that the change wouldn’t disrupt the meter. We decided the name that worked best was Rippers. Barry Gott then changed the uniform colors so they’re different from the colors of the Washington football team. This change was made before Dino-Thanksgiving’s second printing. Additionally, we changed the team name in Dino-Football and Barry changed the colors of the players’ uniforms throughout the full book. The most recent printing includes these changes, and all ebook formats of both titles have also been updated.
Finally, we released a board book called My First Dino-Football just a few months ago, in September 2022. The brief text does not reference any team names, and the illustrations come from the updated Dino-Football art with the new uniform colors.
These changes took some time and effort, but they were well worth it. All of us involved with these books regret the original team name and are committed to using this as a learning moment not just to address the issues with these books but also to prevent them in our future work.
Visit this page on the Lerner blog for more announcements!