Wednesday 26 October 2011

Dinosaur Rescue – T-Wreck-a-saurus

Dinosaur Rescue – T-Wreck-a-saurus by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand) 
PB RRP $5.00 special price 
ISBN 9781775430193
Reviewed by Dawn Meredith

Stone Age men don’t go hunting every day. It’s too much hard work. They only hunt when they get sick of eating nuts and berries. (The Never-before-told Secret of Stone Age Hunting, p52).

This crazy, fun book is part of a series in which the creators explore the idea that cave men lived in the age of dinosaurs, while acknowledging fully that they didn’t. It’s a fun notion. The protagonist, Arg, is a ‘caveboy genius’ who puts up with his less than intelligent, ape-like family and friends:

“But Arg’s mum had just scratched her armpits and yawned, It was way too complicated for her little brain to understand. She didn’t even know what a brain was… ‘Big trouble, Arg scream.’ His mum said.”

Arg finds smart ways to elude being eaten by a T-Rex. His faithful companion, a microceratops, Krrk-Krrk is a scaredy-saur, but provides comic relief at the right moment. There is a strong sense of the simplistic ethics of the caveman, necessitated by their ‘you could die any moment’ existence - When annoying Gurg gets chomped by a T Rex driven mad by itchiness Arg shrugs. He never liked Gurg anyway. A playful development sees the T Rex and Arg discover to their mutual astonishment that the other can speak and the realization that dinosaurs are in fact endangered.

The drawings and concepts are laugh-out-loud funny in this nicely finished volume. There’s lots of gross bits boy readers will love, including this little gem on page 13:

“She [Mum] stared at him suspiciously. Then she shoved her finger deep into her nose. When she pulled it out again, there was a big chunk of soft, green snot on the end. She studied it a second before popping it in her mouth.”

YUUUUUK! When I read this bit aloud to one of my students he made a face then laughed and said “That’s so cool!” I think Mewburn and Bixley have got it right with this particular audience, in the tradition of Andy Griffiths. An additional book in the series, Dinosaur Rescue – Stego-snottysaurus (ISBN 9781775430209) explores Arg’s quest to stop a dinosaur from getting people flu.

Dawn Meredith writes from the Blue Mountains. She was awarded a May Gibbs Writer’s fellowship in 2011 and her brand new book, The Anything Shop was released in October. You can follow her exploits here:

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