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Junior Library Guild Selection

Amazon Big Spring Pick for 2014

Book Description

In this read-along picture book, a classroom full of young dinosaurs plays with toys, does art projects, and reads books. But each activity is another opportunity for the over-enthusiastic Tyrannosaurus Rex to wreak havoc. Parents and young children will love the call-and-response nature of the book, and young dinosaur fans will appreciate the listing (and pronunciation guide) for a dozen different dino species. The format is extra vertical in order to accommodate T. Rex's biggest messes.


Whether at the art table, doing work at the board or using blocks—“Stegosaurus stacks. Triceratops erects. / Gallimimus builds it up”—the result is the same: “TYRANNOSAURUS… WRECKS!” But not only does a room full of angry faces cause a change of heart in the hyperactive theropod, when his efforts to repair the damage founder on his own clumsiness, his classmates pitch in. They don’t do the cleanup themselves, but they work to enable his success. That doesn’t spell an end to disasters, as bulky Apatosaurus doesn’t see contrite T. Rex carefully balancing a tray of juice cups and snacks…but at least this time it’s not his fault. OHora adds digital color to simply drawn classroom scenes in ways that produce a flat, screen-printed look, depicting the dinos in human clothing but with recognizable attributes (they’re also identified on the endpapers). Just for fun he also slips in a view of Styracosaurus practicing his “C”s by repeatedly writing “Climate Change” and a few other visual gags.

“Along with the pleasure of pronouncing those multisyllabic dino names, young audiences may find food for thought in the behavioral dynamics on display.”


“Bardhan-Quallen and OHora may not have the monopoly on the pun around which this book is based, but that doesn’t stop them from having a blast with it. They take readers to a classroom where Apatosaurus colors a picture of a volcano, Gallimimus helps build a block tower, an overalls-wearing Iguanodon reads quietly, and Tyrannosaurus—well, you can probably guess. OHora (No Fits, Nilson!) paints this antihero as a small orange terror in a striped shirt and sneakers, but his bad behavior quickly catches up with him, and his classmates shun him: “Tyrannosaurus leaving—/ Dinosaurs are glad./ Tyrannosaurus lonely,/ Miserable, and sad.” Bardhan-Quallen’s (Duck, Duck, Moose!) verse stomps along like T-Wrecks himself, but she makes it clear he’s not a bad guy; he tries hard to make amends, and the final scene proves he’s not the only tiny dino capable of making a mistake. Punchy writing, an equally in-your-face palette, and OHora’s characteristically brash painting style make this as much a stompalong as a readaloud. Ages 4–8.”

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks

Author: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Illustrator: Zachariah OHora

Abrams Books for Young Readers

ISBN-10: 1419710354

ISBN-13: 9781419710353

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Warmly colored with childlike bodies and emotive faces, Ohora’s dinosaurs are among the cutest you will come across in children’s books. This proves lucky, because one of them does his level best to obliterate the quiet and order of their schoolroom. While “Styracosaurus copies,” “Stygimoloch checks,” and “Iguanodon picks out a book,” Tyrannosaurus—what else?—wrecks! Running across the crafts table and bashing block buildings, the Tyrannosaurus ruins everyone’s day, until they let him know it’s not appreciated. The good-natured dino doesn’t like feeling left out, so he learns his lesson and tries to be better only to trip on a truck and wreck himself. Luckily, his friendly classmates pitch in to support him. All schoolboy shorts, striped shirt, and mischievous glare, this troublemaker is impossible not to root for, and his transformation from agent of chaos to (slightly clumsy) bringer of order will echo many a schoolroom drama for little readers. With a pronunciation guide on the endpapers and clear dinosaur shapes, this also makes a nifty little primer for burgeoning dino experts.


“The preschool dinosaurs in the pages "Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!" (Abrams, 31 pages, $17.95) are, by contrast, mostly placid and cooperative, entirely capable of the polite interaction that is expected in nursery and pre-K classrooms. The exception is Tyrannosaurus, a toothy kid in a striped shirt whose motivation, as with many a "difficult" child, seems part naughtiness, part high spirits and part sheer obliviousness.

Using brisk rhymes that incorporate different dinosaur types, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen lays out one transgression after another. For instance, three friends are playing nicely on the floor with blocks: "Stegosaurus stacks. / Triceratops erects. / Gallimimus builds it up." Two seconds later, blocks go flying when: "Tyrannosaurus wrecks!" Pretty soon the other children are fed up, and we don't blame them. But our sympathies switch to Tyrannosaurus when he is banished by the other children, and we want to cheer when he sets about, if unsteadily, making amends. Zachariah Ohora's brightly colored, raw-feeling illustrations capture the bittersweet Darwinism of class dynamics in even the earliest school years.”