Simon James has long been a favorite in my house, although rarely reviewed here. In my review of his book Nurse Clementine back in 2013, I talked about how much we loved and still love (I read it in the library to my students) Dear Mr. Blueberry and shared more of his work in that review, which I hope you'll check out. What James does best, time after time, is pair sweet with silly, creating poignant and playful picture books that truly hold up with time.
With Rex, James takes on dinosaurs and daddies with charmingly cartoonish, colorful illustrations filled with sharp teeth and erupting volcanoes. Rex starts off, "Once upon about 65 million years ago, there lived a terrifying tyrannosaurus." Fierce as this guy is (he scared "every saurus he saw!") he stomps off each night looking for a cave to sleep in and no one dares wake him. But one night, something does wake him.
Little Rex imprints on the big dinosaur and even calls him Dad. As the big dinosaur tries to get away from Little Rex, James packs in all the big name dinosaurs and even one I've never heard of - the trigonosaurus. Their first day together ends with Little Rex curled up on the big dinosaur's belly, settling in for the night. The next day the learning and bonding begins, including "relaxing by a warm river of molten lava." Despite this, the big dinosaur makes sure that Little Rex knows he's not really his dad, he just found him in a cave, setting up a sweet, although not surprising, ending for Rex.
More books by Simon James:
Source: Review Copy