A boy bullied on account of his birthmark befriends a vivacious vermillion dinosaur in this delightfully whimsical tale of friendship.
Young caveman Tib is relentlessly bullied by his tribe. Born with a scarlet birthmark around one eye, the other kids call him things like “polka-dot face” and continuously hurl insults about the “blob on his face.” After making a wish to see “new faces,” he stumbles on a plucky red dino he names Tumtum. Tib tries to tell the others about his prehistoric discovery, though he is dismissed almost instantly. His father, a great teller of wildly tall tales, has paved the way for him, and most think that this apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. When Tumtum makes a decision to help save Tib and his tribe from imminent danger, Tib must work to keep the hunters from targeting Tumtum as prey. As Tib is bullied, he tries to work out new ways to deal with the bullying, and it’s refreshing to see him try—and fail—as he struggles to fit in with the group. Constructed with a uniform panel structure and rendered in an upbeat palette, Bannister’s illustrations have a clean efficiency about them that helps drive many of the sight gags. In a nice touch, silhouettes of Tumtum are superimposed over a Lascaux-like background on the endpapers.
Fun, imaginative and inventive—dino-mite! (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)