Gregory wakes up in bed transformed…not into a giant cockroach, but a T. Rex.
Many’s deliberate riff on the premise of Kafka’s classic tale is the high point of this incoherent hash. For no reason beyond a physical change that only he can apparently see, the moment he rises on the morning he’s scheduled to present a school report on the extinction of the dinosaurs by meteorite, Gregory becomes a destructive monster. He rips his breakfast-cereal box apart with a roar, bellows when he realizes he’s left his diorama at home, and savagely destroys his classmates’ elaborate dino-projects. For this last act, rather than being punished or even scolded, he’s briefly sent to the office, then actually applauded once teacher and students understand that he was supposedly imitating a T. Rex. As if! In fact, only his harried single mom reacts realistically to his acting out. Jaskiel brings like murkiness to the illustrations, which feature a flailing white lad whose anxiety at a teacher’s question looks more like severe nausea and who in dino form looks like Barney’s anthropomorphic green cousin. At a convenient point Gregory changes back to a boy and, after deciding that night that T. Rexes aren’t all that cool, dreams of becoming a (presumably less aggressive) triceratops. In the pictures the adults are all white, but the students are a diverse group.
Inane, both psychologically and plotwise. (Picture book. 6-8)