Dexter is as anxious as in his debut, Don’t Forget Dexter! (2017), and he’s worked himself into a frenzy over the fact that Jack’s show-and-tell day is tomorrow.
The orange T. Rex toy is beside himself with excitement and has been preparing for weeks. But then the nerves set in, fears that will be familiar to many a child: “What if no one likes me?” What cool talent could he possibly show off? What if Jack chooses to take someone else instead? Dexter regularly breaks the fourth wall to address readers, responding to their implied criticisms. Regarding the bunny costume: “I know it’s a little tight, but…Really? Not even the cute fluffy tail?” Discarded costumes and possible talents mount up, Dexter’s panic increasing exponentially until a double-page spread “TOTAL FREAKOUT!” leads to the suggestion (from readers, of course) that he just go as himself. The final two spreads portray his show-and-tell debut and its aftermath, but after the extensive lead-up, the finale seems too brief. Ward’s illustrations, made with printmaking ink, colored pencil, and cut paper, wonderfully capture Dexter’s every emotion and over-the-top ideas. Dexter’s owner, Jack, a black boy, appears only at the beginning and end, the dino’s outsized personality taking up all the space in between.
In this sequel, Dexter’s still funny, but he is in danger of becoming a one-note joke. (Picture book. 4-7)