cover image How to Be a T. Rex

How to Be a T. Rex

Ryan North, illus. by Mike Lowery. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-18624-0

North (Romeo and/or Juliet) and Lowery (Random Illustrated Facts) give T. rex a fresh twist by asking what the toothy theropod can teach children about harnessing great power for good. Brown-skinned Sal wishes she was a T. rex, but a visual accounting shows that she just isn’t, at least right now: “Teeth: okay, could be pointier.” “Body: Tiny, often ignored.” With hilarious ease, Sal soon turns into a tyrannosaur merely by sitting up in bed at night and concentrating. Now she tastes power: “No door can hold you! You can eat whatever you want!” But living as a T. rex among humans demands compromise. “They don’t like it when you eat their food.” Is it possible to maintain a dinosaur-style sense of one’s own awesomeness and live with other humans? It is, Sal learns. “I don’t let people ignore me or push me around, but I’m careful not to stomp on any humans.” Lowery’s unsteady lettering and goofy human figures with bean-shaped noses contribute to the book’s laughs and help keep its stay-strong lesson from descending into sentimentality. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)