I almost didn't review Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton. I reviewed Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachary Ohara in April of this year and the world play of "wrecks" and "rex" feels a little done. But . . . well . . . Clanton draws a mean monster, an adorable uni-rabbit and an endearing little robot. And then there are the building blocks. Clanton does amazing things with building blocks in Rex Wrecks It!.
With the title and jacket art, you know what you are going to get with Rex Wrecks It!, and getting there is a lot of fun. Clanton's illustrations are especially engaging, but his story has some nice wordiness as well. Gizmo, Sprinkles and Wild are the victims of Rex and stand-ins for toddlers. Gizmo builds a rocket out of blocks. Sprinkles makes a magical heart using only red blocks and Wild builds a "Wooden Wonder of Wowdom."
The trio of friends decides to work together to stop Rex. Building something bigger and stronger - -a supercool fortress - doesn't work.
Then Gizmo gets the great idea to include Rex in the building process and things seem to be going well. When the masterpiece is finished, it looks amazing and everyone is happy, "Even Rex. Mostly." Even though Rex is a simply drawn character, Clanton achieves an almost aching sense of building unease in the eyes of Rex as he and the gang admire what they have built. I won't give it away here, but what they build is really neat. The climax of Rex Wrecks It! is both satisfying and sweet and reminds me of why there IS room for another Rex/Wrecks book on the shelves. I was also reminded of why there will always be room for books like Rex Wrecks It! on the shelves while at my son's 10th birthday party on the beach last weekend as I watched the boys kick down the sandcastles made by the other kids (oh, alright, made by the girls) at the end of the party. There's a little bit of Rex in all of us . . .
Source: Review Copy