Life with a preschool-aged boy in the house is always eventful. Little guys have a well-earned reputation for not always being the best behaved members of the family, and it can sometimes feel like living with a zoo’s worth of monkeys. Or a dinosaur rampaging through New York City.
It’s obvious from the tone and content of Aaron Reynolds’ text that he is well acquainted with at least one of these lovable but frustrating children. As Destructosaurus tracks seaweed and dead fish all over the freshly cleaned street and throws around skyscrapers mid-tantrum, the disapproving and chastising parental feel of the narration is hilariously bang-on and will resonate with adult readers. “Don’t you take that tone with me, Destructosaurus! Whatever you’re saying must seem awfully important to you, but I could do without the attitude. Besides, everyone here is a little busy at the moment. Screaming. And running away. And stockpiling bottled water.”
Illustrator Jeremy Tankard, who recently relocated from Toronto to Vancouver, renders the (relatively) small dino in his trademark style, with thick black outlines and bright colours combining to add pop. Even scowling, the stubby-fingered, chubby Destructosaurus is adorable, and the visual gags bring as much entertainment-value to the story as Reynolds’ comic words.
It’s debatable who will get more enjoyment from this book: young listeners who will identify with the monster and find his exploits ridiculously funny, or adult readers who will no doubt hear their own voices echoed in that of the exasperated narrator. Reynolds includes a lesson for both audiences – a nice touch – and the introduction of a new character at the end puts a final, amusing point on what is already a thoroughly entertaining book.