Skip to main content

Dinotrux written and illustrated by Chris Gall


Chris Gall's illustrative style reminds me of a combination of Chris Van Allsburg and David Weisner. He can be almost photographically realistic and marvelously fantastical at the same time. With Dinotrux, he hits a sweet spot that kids (and parents) will not be able to resist. In fact, by the time I finished the story time in which Dinotrux debuted, one copy had already been sold!

Really, the name and the cover illustration says it all. And who among us, when driving down the road and pointing out back loaders, graders and the like to our kids has not had a fleeting thought on the similarities between construction trucks and dinosaurs? Which is exactly why this book works so well. Gall has hit upon a common but heretofore undocumented communal idea. The story itself is not long or complex, which is great because most (not all, of course) kids phase out of trucks and dinosaurs by the time they are five or six. The dinotrux are big, bad brutes clomping around the earth making things dangerous for the wild-eyed cave folks and each page is dedicated to their dastardly ways. Gall blends the dinosaur and truck names, as well as their personalities, brilliantly. There is the Tyrannosaurus Trux, naturally, but there are also the Garbageadon, the Craneosaurous and the lazy Deliverasaurs who resemble brown UPS trucks with massive claws. They are lazy because in the prehistoric world dinotrux are not helpful like the evolved trucks of today. Towards the end of the book there is a massive change that brings about the end of most of the dinotrux, who are swallowed up by the ground to become fossils. Those who survive, over time, become the sturdy workers of today, as depicted in a fold-out page. The penultimate page of the book is devoted to a city construction site scene in which the fossil of an old dinotrux is being hauled out of the ground by a crane as a crowd, some of whom look suspiciously like the cave people, look on. The final page of the book finds a janitor in a museum sweeping up for the night in the semi-darkness as the massive Tyrannosaurus Trux fossil he is standing in front of shines its headlight eyes down on him...

I wish I had more of the illustrations to share with you. The dinotrux are executed with just the right amount of humor and the color palette Gall works with is perfectly matched to the subject matter and not too muddy or dull despite the jurassic time frame. This is definitely a book worth buying for the 2 - 6 year old crowd, especially if your little truck lover is just beginning to develop his or her passion. You will find yourself driving down the street saying, "Hey, look at that tankerasaurous over there kids!" For the older kids, this is actually a great book to practice reading skills on.

Finally, you will not be surprised to learn that Dreamworks has bought the rights to the book and plan to make and animated, 3-D movie based on it!

Check out Chris's other books:








































Also, not the best segue, but I want to call attention to a wonderful post written by children's book author and educator Kate Coombs over at the blog Book Aunt titled, Picture Book Lessons About Being Yourself. She comments on this topic, much abused by celebrity authors, and suggests a few books that handle it both subtly and inspiringly. There are also several great titles mentioned in the comments as well.

Comments

Z-Kids said…
Can't WAIT to get my hands on this one!
Z-Dad
Tanya said…
Since my 3rd and youngest is almost 5 and my shelves are bursting, I rarely buy picture books anymore, but Dinotrux is worth every penny! Hope your gang loves it too!

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…