AL by Ronald Stoltz


The Story of a Vegetarian T-Rex
by illustrated by
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In Stoltz’s (Deer Run, 2016, etc.) funny and anachronistic picture book, being different can save the day—especially if you’re a vegetarian dinosaur.

“Al was a T-Rex who didn’t like meat,” Stoltz opens, neatly establishing the story of a young dino who likes veggies and fruits, most especially strawberries. It isn’t that Al’s picky; he doesn’t even mind when bugs have made holes in his strawberries. It’s that he doesn’t like what all the other T. Rexes like to eat, and he’s mocked because of it. His parents don’t understand him, either. They take him to his chef aunt to learn to eat proper meals (they’re shown flying on a pteranodon to get there). When the stegosaurus steaks and dinosaur bones don’t change his mind, she throws up her tiny arms in defeat and sends him packing. A storm hits the valley, and all the T. Rex kids take shelter at the (very modern, locker-filled) school. A leafy tree blocks the exit, and no one can move it out of the way with their too-small arms. Al decides to eat his way out, and when the other youngsters aren’t willing to help, Al saves the day. While there’s a nice moral lesson here about valuing people with differences, kids will be less focused on that than on the silliness of the tale: dinosaur chefs! A vegetarian T. Rex who loves strawberries! A football team that can’t possibly catch or pass! The computer-designed, clip-art­–esque illustrations may not inspire young artists, and the font choice doesn’t lend itself to readability, but anachronistic details (the aunt cooks on an outdoor grill) amuse, and the vocabulary is spot-on, especially for dinosaur fans who won’t stumble over “stegosaurus” or “prehistoric.”

For some young readers, this level of ridiculousness, along with the unsophisticated illustrations, may make the book a nonstarter, but others willing to embrace the absurd humor will get plenty of giggles.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2016
Page count: 33pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


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