Tommysaurus Rex


A tale about a boy and his T Rex! Ely is an everyboy trying to cope with the death of his dog Tommy. When he finds a live, 40-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex trapped in a cave behind his grandfather's house, Ely embarks on an adventure to tame this seemingly friendly giant, convince the town his new pet isn't a threat, and keep his dinosaur safe from the jealous town bully. With Tommysaurus Rex at his side, Ely discovers what it takes to be a man... and what it costs.
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Tommysaurus Rex

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A tale about a boy and his T Rex! Ely is an everyboy trying to cope with the death of his dog Tommy. When he finds a live, 40-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex trapped in a cave behind his grandfather's house, Ely embarks on an adventure to tame this seemingly friendly giant, convince the town his new pet isn't a threat, and keep his dinosaur safe from the jealous town bully. With Tommysaurus Rex at his side, Ely discovers what it takes to be a man... and what it costs.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For any child, there’s little worse than having a pet die—unless, of course, one gets a dinosaur in return. After Ely’s golden retriever, Tommy, is hit and killed by a car, the heartbroken 10-year-old befriends a wayward Tyrannosaurus rex while staying on his grandfather’s farm for the summer. At first, it’s a dream come true and a much-needed pick-me-up, but the town soon labels the predator a menace, forcing Ely to train his T. rex or risk losing another pet. To make matters worse, a local bully is targeting Ely. Expanding on a story previously published in 2004, TenNapel (Cardboard) doesn’t let logic get in the way of a good time (Rex devours a herd of cattle, but doesn’t go after humans—and the dino is great at farm work, too), and he isn’t afraid to follow up a heartstrings-tugging moment with a poop joke. It’s a premise worthy of a loony Saturday morning cartoon, complete with bulgy-eyed characters that nearly bounce off the full-color pages, but underlying the fun is a potent and affecting story about facing death and growing up. Ages 9–12. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—The king of the offbeat graphic novel is back with a mixture of adventure, drama, and comedy. After the death of his dog, Tommy, Ely's parents send him to live on his grandfather's farm for the summer. There, he stumbles upon a Tyrannosaurus rex in a nearby cave. When the dino damages a home, the townspeople call for "Tommysaurus Rex" to be removed. Ely and his grandpa make a deal with the mayor-pay off the damages and train Tommysaurus or he goes. The story begins fairly realistically, then makes a big jump when Ely discovers the T. rex, requiring a pretty hearty suspension of disbelief. Happiness, sadness, fear-emotions are on full blast from the start. TenNapel knows how to add some edge that delights kids, but the envelope-pushing might make some adult readers squirm a bit. Themes of life and death are handled well, but may occasionally reach over the heads of some readers. The kinetic, full-color artwork is full of expression and will appeal to children. Unpredictable and engaging, this will be a popular pick for reluctant readers and graphic-novel fans.—Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI
From the Publisher

TOMMYSAURUS REX was nominated for two Eisner awards in 2005:

Best Graphic Album-New
Best Publication for a Younger Audience


* "TenNapel's colorful illustrations are filled with energy and life."--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

"TenNapel is a terrific cartoonist and in fine form here."--BOOKLIST


*"A clever, old-fashioned adventure with some modern twists and a light-hearted tone, this, like TenNapel’s previous work, is not to be missed."--BOOKLIST, starred review

*"TenNapel has crafted another rip-roaring adventure with wide audience appeal."
--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

Praise for CARDBOARD

* "An exceptionally seamless blend of action and philosophy, two elements that usually do not mix easily; TenNapel handles this masterfully. Utterly brilliant."--KIRKUS, starred review

"A boldly imaginative and ambitious tale."--THE HORN BOOK

"[TenNapel] provides moments of great sweetness and heaps and heaps of bizarre fun, a quality that has become his veritable trademark."--BOOKLIST

Children's Literature - Raina Sedore
Ely does not have many friends. His only friend is his dog, Tommy. And he LOVES that dog. So when Tommy dies, Ely is devastated. This sets the scene for Ely's summer, which he spends at his grandfather's farm. A little hard work and quality time with a grandparent sounds like a great antidote to his problems at home, but in the country, Ely finds himself victimized by bullies yet again. One day, he hides in a cave to get away from a group of his tormentors. And there, he meets a very alive Tyrannosaurus Rex. TenNapel's stories have running themes of bullying, difficult parent-child relationships, and close bonds between young boys and their nonhuman companions. The rich settings and fantastic worlds he creates for his characters are generally his strong points. In this case, though, the pivotal element of the story is the dinosaur, which does not feel like that fresh of an idea. There are also aspects of the story that some parents may be uncomfortable with—i.e. the grandfather serving his grandson beer. Overall, however, this feels like the early, less mature work by the amazing creator of teen comic monoliths Ghostopolis, Bad Island, and Cardboard that it is. TenNapel's illustrations are a little rougher than his current polished style, and the "extended" aspects only lengthen the story by 20 additional pages or so. Because TenNapel is a superstar among teen and tween comic fans, buying this gussied up edition of his early work is a necessity for libraries which serve popular audiences. But do not expect it to have quite the level of quality as his newer work. Reviewer: Raina Sedore
Kirkus Reviews
A young boy loses his beloved dog, only to have him return as a feisty and lovable T-Rex. Ely and Tommy are inseparable. Tommy might not be the best-behaved dog—he digs up Ely's mother's garden and steals bacon from the breakfast table—but he is loyal to Ely, and their bond is palpable. When Tommy meets a tragic end, Ely decides to spend the summer working at his grandfather's farm. After being chased by a bully named Randy, he stumbles upon a gentle (and full-sized) T-Rex who reminds him of a certain dog he used to know. While Ely's love for the prehistoric creature is immediate, the other townsfolk must be persuaded. When a plea to win their affections goes terribly wrong, Ely must again face the possibility of losing a friend. This colorized reprint of TenNapel's 2004 indie graphic novel lacks some of the sophistication of his more recent works, relying more on crude humor to drive aspects of the story forward than on subtler techniques. However, his trademark inventiveness and depth are still present, making this an excellent offering for any dog lover or for anyone looking for a tale of friendship. An enjoyable mixed bag of potty humor, insightfulness and the powerful bonds between a pet and its owner. (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545483834
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 152,255
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug TenNapel was raised in the town of Denair, California. In 1994, he created the immensely popular Earthworm Jim. Doug's first graphic novel for Scholastic, GHOSTOPOLIS, was a 2011 ALA Top Ten Great Graphic Novel for Teens, and his follow-up, BAD ISLAND, is a 2012 ALA Great Graphic Novels for Teens as well as one of School Library Journal's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011. His most recent graphic novel from Scholastic, CARDBOARD, has been published to critical acclaim. Doug lives in Glendale, California.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2004

    Fantastic Book!

    Tommysaurus Rex was a literary breath of fresh air. The smooth and delicate blend of emotional drama and random humor create an enjoyable story which I would recommend to anyone. I laughed! I cried! I re-read it! Good stuff comes from Doug TenNapel. Take my word for it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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