Reviewed by Sam Moore, Graphic Novel/Fiction Editor, and Erin, Sam’s daughter
“Just because they’re millions of years old doesn’t mean they ever learned to behave…”
When I was asked to do this review, I got all excited. It may mean I’m nothing more than a big kid, but a book about giant truck dinosaurs is right up my alley. I waited and waited with baited breath for our mailman to deposit the package in the mailbox. Finally, after days and days and days of waiting (actually, I only had to wait, like, two days), it arrived. Man, I was not disappointed.
Revenge of the Dinotrux by Chris Gall is a great little book. The illustrations are fun, with bold, sweeping colors. His pictures have a grainyness to them, like they were colored with pastels or crayons, and it’s an effect that I’m a huge fan of. Gall’s imagination is in full swing as he combines modern trucks with dinosaurs; there’s the Garbageadon, the Cementosaurus, and the Velocitractors (my personal favorite). His drawings are detailed enough to be an imaginative use of machinery, but not so detailed that you get bogged down by the details. You can almost see these great beasts roaming the countryside.
Gall’s choice of vocabulary is good. The hardest words to pronounce are the names of the Dinotrux themselves. He makes good use of some advanced adjectives (overexcited, drafty, and dastardly are a few). It is a good challenging read for kids in the K-2 range. Even if they can pronounce these new words, there are plenty more that may need explaining. As a parent and a teacher, this is exactly what I look for in a children’s book – the word choice should be difficult enough to challenge the reader’s ability (but not too difficult) and advanced enough to add new words and meanings to their vocabulary (but not too advanced). This book does just that.
The story is simple and fun. The Dinotrux, after having spent countless days on display in the museum, have finally gotten fed up with the noisy, uncontrollable children, so they break out and wreck havoc across the city. Eventually, the mayor steps in and sends the Dinotrux to school where they must learn how to behave like modern trucks. Initially, the Dinotrux are unruly, but soon enough, with the help of the schoolchildren, they learn how to behave. The story ends with a delightful surprise (now, you know I’m not going to tell you exactly how it ends. That would be cheating. Read the book if you really want to know).
That’s the adult perspective. To get a child’s-eye-view of the book, I asked my 6-year-old daughter, Erin, to help me review it. Here’s what she said:
“I think that it’s cool cause I like dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurus Trux is my favorite cause he has sharp teeth. The pictures are cool because in one of the pages, the fire truck Dinotrux breathes fire. In front of the title page, it has the selections of the body and inside the body and the skin selection and the tail selection. And the control is a steering wheel. There’s two toes on there. The words are kind of big, and every time it starts with a capital letter at the very start of the book, it has a red I, and it’s capital. People should read this book cause some people like video games, and it has a giant video game controller in front of one of the Dinotrux. And kids like to scream and swing and bang and chew gum sometimes. It has trucks and cars in it.”
And there you have it. We’ve given you both the parent’s and the child’s review of Revenge of the Dinotrux. We both highly recommend it.