Innocent trust turns a domineering bully into a caring protector who makes the ultimate sacrifice in this prehistoric tale of personal growth.
Tyrannosaurus delights in terrorizing the other dinosaurs, boasting, “Weaklings are worthless. The strongest rules, and I am the strongest,” as he grabs, chomps, and treads on those smaller than he. Eventually age and some agile younger foes catch up with him, leaving him wounded and convinced that life is meaningless. A gaggle of baby triceratops and a case of mistaken identity lead Tyrannosaurus to a critical turning point: he can stick with his old ways and turn them into tasty snacks, or he can be the baby-cuddling, fruit-eating dinosaur they believe he is. Tyrannosaurus’ stooped posture and rheumy eyes help blunt his fearsome appearance in the boldly lined and colored illustrations, and the baby triceratops are positively adorable. Miyanishi (You Are My Best Friend, 2016, etc.) has his protagonist face aggressors and lay down his life for these babies, one of whom grows up to share the wisdom of his example with his own children: “Violence isn’t the answer. There is something more powerful than strength, and more precious too. That is love.” It is refreshing to see male characters behaving in physically and emotionally nurturing ways, and the underlying message that it is never too late to change is valuable indeed.
Only the coldblooded will fail to be moved by this poignant story. (Picture book. 4-8)