A frozen egg holds a surprising pet for a lonely boy.
Friendless, a bully target, and a disappointment to his football-crazy father, 11-year-old Martin is also a budding naturalist, exploring the woods around his Menominee Springs, Wisconsin, home and collecting specimens in the old barn that serves as his lab. When he falls into a prohibited, rockslide area, he finds an unusual frozen egg. It soon thaws and hatches what Martin at first thinks is a deformed small lizard but quickly grows into an enormous, ever hungry T. Rex he names Rufus. Although Rufus imprints strongly on Martin and is surprisingly obedient, feeding him and hiding him become more and more difficult, even with the help of Audrey, a new girl in school and Martin’s first real friend. When Rufus is discovered, madcap mayhem ensues. It’s all related in a matter-of-fact third-person that will help readers suspend their disbelief and keep them chuckling. As improbable as it is humorous, Fulk’s debut novel is a poignant story of a boy’s coming into his own. A list of silly dinosaur “facts” is appended.
Readers will cheer for Martin and Rufus in this funny twist on a boy-and-his-dog story. (Fantasy. 9-12)