With Dad on his side, a kid finds it easier to be brave.
Little Nick has three fears: the dark outside, bugs, and the undersides of manhole covers. But his dad’s not afraid of anything. With his plastic T. Rex in his pocket, Nick can be brave, just like Big Nick. After all, dinos aren’t afraid of the dark, bugs, or manhole covers, so Nick can conquer the climbing wall and score against the soccer goalie nicknamed Gorilla. But when the talisman falls out of his sock after said goal, Nick’s bravery seems lost as well, and the night is long and dark and scary. When Dad comes to soothe Nick after a bad dream, the tale comes out, and Dad is supercool about the whole thing, driving Nick to the field to search: “It’s guy stuff,” he tells Nick’s mother as they are leaving. With the rediscovery of Nick’s dino, his bravery returns as well, only this time, Nick isn’t the only one who knows his secret, and he knows deep down that all guys are afraid sometimes. Cleverly, Santat’s pencil, watercolor, ink, acrylic, and Photoshop illustrations show the outline of a giant monochromatic dinosaur helping Nick conquer each hurdle, and when the toy is lost, Nick looks smaller without it, his fears visible in the background. Nick and his family seem to be white, though the soccer players are diverse.
Dads get it: being brave takes work…and a dinosaur. (Picture book. 5-8)