cover image Tyrannosaurus Ralph

Tyrannosaurus Ralph

Nate Evans, illus. by Vince Evans. Andrews McMeel, $9.99 (180p) ISBN 978-1-4494-7208-5

Frankenstein meets Gladiator—with dinosaurs and aliens thrown in—in the story of fifth-grader Ralph, whose brain gets transplanted into the body of a Tyrannosaurus rex after the boy is “squashed flat as a pizza” in an incident involving the school bully and a tuba. The muscle-bound Professor Overdrive is responsible for Ralph’s transformation, and he explains that Ralph is Earth’s only chance at survival. King Clobberus Crunch, a demonic alien, has demanded that Earth send a champion to represent itself in his gladiatorial arena, the Coliseum of Crunch, or the planet will be destroyed. With the help of Overdrive and his hunchback assistant, Lugnut, Ralph must defeat his first opponent and prevent Lord Knuckle-Dragger, the arena’s overseer, from stealing away Joona, his new friend and romantic interest. The Evans brothers channel the pumped-up drama and intensity of comics like Speed Racer in their story’s manga-inflected artwork and rapid-fire dialogue and one-liners (“I’m too young to be a million years old!”). The bold artwork, goofy humor, action-packed battles, and kitchen-sink plot make this an enjoyably off-the-wall escapade. Ages 7–12. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)