Tyrannosaurus Dad

( 7 )


Tobias?s father is a lot like other fathers?he likes corny jokes, and doing magic tricks, and works really hard at the office. But there the resemblance ends.  He has teeth as sharp as steak knives, is forty feet high, and weighs as much as a locomotive.  He is, in fact, a tyrannosaurus. 

This funny and poignant story about a kid trying to get his dad to pay attention has a fabulous payoff, when Dad shows up and saves the day during a Field Day baseball game;...

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Tobias’s father is a lot like other fathers—he likes corny jokes, and doing magic tricks, and works really hard at the office. But there the resemblance ends.  He has teeth as sharp as steak knives, is forty feet high, and weighs as much as a locomotive.  He is, in fact, a tyrannosaurus. 

This funny and poignant story about a kid trying to get his dad to pay attention has a fabulous payoff, when Dad shows up and saves the day during a Field Day baseball game; when a tyrannosaurus decides to ump, no one dares disagrees with his calls! 

An added bonus are the fabulous illustrations by newcomer Matthew Myers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the "How do Dinosaurs...?" series, it's the dinosaur kids who are beastly; Rosenberg (Nobody) and Myers (Clink) turn the tables with a story about a regular kid, Tobias, whose father is a "terrible lizard." Tobias is pretty cool with this arrangement: T. rex Dad may be a lot bigger and a little gruffer than other dads, but with his love of corny jokes and backyard grilling, he fits right in. No, what bothers Tobias is that his dad is "always, always working." Myers, in one of the book's uniformly terrific images, sums up the situation by showing Tobias tucked into bed, while Dad, still wearing his office clothes (an ill-fitting button-down shirt and tiny tie) is in the moonlit backyard, working on his laptop. Will Dad get his priorities straight in time for Field Day at Tobias's school? Despite some well-played lines that hit their comedic marks, the storytelling sometimes slackens, and the mood can feel like it's teetering between bittersweet and depressed. But the premise shines through, thanks to Myers's saturated, sculptural musings on what happens when Cat's in the Cradle meets Jurassic Park. Ages 4–6. (May)
From the Publisher
“Author Liz Rosenberg's down-to-earth, matter-of-fact narrative is accompanied by the painterly illustrations of first-time picture-book artist Matthew Myers to great effect; they add enough depth and nuance to make the story convincing, and a complete charmer. Sometimes people—and dinosaurs, it turns out—are a lot cooler than they pretend to be.” —Time Out New York Kids
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
What would it be like to have a Tyrannosaurus for a father—not one like a Tyrannosaurus, but a real Tyrannosaurus Dad? Rosenberg explores this surreal metaphor in a story of Tobias, who lives with his Tyrannosaurus Dad in a more-or-less normal house except that Dad appears to sleep outside and barely fits inside. Though the neighbors accept him, he's a terror to salesmen and meter readers, and always very, very busy working (one might wonder what exactly his job is). On the morning of the school Field Day, Tobias hopes Dad will come, but resigns himself to disappointment. As the day's baseball game is about to begin, the tough Chickenbone Gang roar in on their noisy bikes, threatening havoc and scaring even the principal. It's Tyrannosaurus Dad to the rescue! He umpires the game, neatly sorts out the gang, and shelters all when a thunderstorm almost cancels the barbecue. Everyone's cheering as darkness falls and Dad gives the gang and their bikes a ride home on his gigantic back. Boys who wish their dads were more like Tyrannosaurus Dad may feel reassured along with a beaming Tobias as T. Dad pulls out of his pocket a worn photo of himself and Tobias, asserting "Family first. Work can wait." Myers is a perfect choice as illustrator: much of his work as an artist depicts bizarre combinations of the ordinary and the outlandish, or imposing wild fantasy on reality. These detailed, amusing oil paintings play imaginatively with the implications of an enormous dinosaur interacting with what appears to be normal suburbia. There's no mother on the scene—probably just as well; it's better not to think about the implications of that kind of metaphorically surreal relationship. Kids may enjoy exploring more of Myers' art on his website, myerspaints.com. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Tobias's father is a lot like other dads...well, except for the fact that he's "forty feet long and fifteen feet high," has "teeth as sharp as steak knives," weighs "as much as a steam locomotive," and is soon revealed to be a T. rex. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a dinosaur dad, but the worst is that his work keeps him so busy that he can't come to his son's big Field Day at Elmwood Elementary. But when the baseball game is almost taken over by the rough and tough Chickenbone Gang, Tyranosaurus Dad comes unexpectedly to the rescue, and soon all the kids are playing together under his firmly benevolent direction. The quirky, retro full-color illustrations are filled with details that are simply hilarious: dino dad, stuffed into a shirt and tie, delicately taps his computer keyboard; cracks the bathroom ceiling as he scrunches in to brush his teeth; and shelters kids in a rainstorm beneath his massive body. The flowing art, varying between full pages and spreads, features surprising perspectives and an inner logic that show a human boy and a dinosaur dad as a natural, loving family. This twist on a great dad/son relationship will be appreciated both as a read-along and a read-aloud and will have dinosaur lovers and dads going back for more.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Who knew the favorite topics of baseball, dinosaurs and father-son relationships could come together in such a winning combination? Rosenberg and debut illustrator Myers pull it off in this impressive collaboration. Human boy Tobias eagerly awaits Elmwood Elementary Field Day, when the big game will be played. He would love for Dad—who just happens to be a Tyrannosaurus—to go, but he is always working. In not-so-subtle ways Tobias reminds his hulking father how important this is to him, but the dinosaur remains absorbed in the newspaper, swamped with paperwork and glued to his laptop. Field Day arrives, and Tobias goes alone. All seems well until the dreaded Chickenbone Gang comes, demanding to play ball. Tobias is about to take on the head bully over a rules dispute when "an unexpected voice" thunders, "I'LL UMP!" The reptile's level-headed problem-solving and firm yet fair presence save the day. " 'What made you come today?' asked Tobias. 'Family first.' Tyrannosaurus Dad said. 'Work can wait.' " Rosenberg's well-paced dialogue and succinct descriptions result in a most engaging read. Myers' oil paintings truly amaze. Faces gain an almost three-dimensional expressiveness, and the spreads are rich in scene-setting detail. His reluctantly kind Tyrannosaurus is cleverly portrayed as a larger-than-life creature with a mean countenance but a warm heart. Sounds like many dads out there.(Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596435315
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 453,593
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Rosenberg

Accalimed poet, novelist, and professor, Liz Rosenberg is the author of  Nobody, On Christmas Eve, and This Is the Wind, among other titles. Her books have received numerous awards, including an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice, and have been featured on Reading Rainbow. She lives in Binghamton, New York.

After a twenty-year career as an award-winning art director, MATTHEW MYERS discovered his true vocation—illustrating picture books. He now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Great book for baseball buffs!

    Tobias is a regular kid with a dad who has razor sharp teeth and is the size of a school bus. He desperately wants his father to come be part of his school's Field Day baseball game. Very funny book, lots of hidden visual jokes (i.e. on the back cover the dad has ordered what look like 100 pepperoni pizzas) and a wonderful interplay between this artist and author. Debut book, this one is a homerun right out of the park!

    Highly recommended for father's day, birthdays,classrooms, baseball season. Big bold illustrations. Strong story line with sweet message about the enduring love between fathers and children.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    Perfect book for father's day and baseball season!!

    It's time for the Field Day baseball game but T-Dad is too busy to come to his son's event-- or is he? About a dad who is way way larger than life, with larger than life pictures by a brilliant new illustrator. Rosenberg and Myers have created a genuine new classic-- with baseball, dinosaurs, and fathers and sons all rolled into one.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    check it out for Father's Day!

    Great book for fathers to read aloud to kids this father's day-- a perfect blend of tender and funny. Bright vivid pictures by Matthew Myers, illustrator of CLINK. For kids with busy dads. Sweet without being mushy. Also nice for dinosaur fans and baseball enthusiasts. Homerun!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Tremendous story and picture duo, this one hits a home run

    My son loves this new picture book. It's about dinosaurs, baseball, school field days, dads and how to stand up to the tough kids. Bright funny color pictures with a cartoony ferocity that delights and does not scare him. Tender ending that teaches kids all parents love their kids in their own way, even when they are as big as a school bus with teeth "as sharp as steak knives." Unlike so many picture books, the author and illustrator are perfectly matched. Hope for more from this pair-- is there a sequel coming? Tyrannosaurus Dad on Bring a Kid to Work Day? The Tyrannosaurus Dad all-meat grilling cookbook?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    totally cool big dad

    This dinosaur reminds me of my own dad-- larger than life, busy, ferocious, strong but loving. See the front cover I used to ride his shoulders while he mowed the lawn, too. Funny book, amazing pictures too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Delightful new funny heartfelt picture book

    My husband got this book for Father's Day this year, and we all love it. It's very very funny, thanks to a clever text and eye-popping art by Matthew Myers. My son appreciated the message that even when dads are busy and pre-occupied they still love and want to protect their kids. The message is very subtle, mostly it's just zany and hilarious and imaginative. The dinosaur looks like one of my uncles. But it has a lot of heart, which is all too rare in picture books these days. My son wants to share it with his classmates, and I think they will all love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011


    This one is a lot of fun to read aloud. My twins both love dinosaurs and baseball so this was a slam-dunk for us. Love the super-bright pictures and the tongue in cheek tone. My favorite part is where the booing parents pretend to cough when Tyrannosaurus Dad calls the game on account of rain. Wish he were around for my kids' Little League games!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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