You are the bravest kid you know.
Nothing is scary to you. You sleep in the dark, you cross the street without holding anyone’s hand, you’re not even scared of monsters.
Well, okay, maybe that monster thing, but as in the new book “Dad and the Dinosaur” by Gennifer Choldenko and Dan Santat, you’re fine as long as you have your safety-good-luck charm.
Nicholas was not a very brave boy.
He really wanted to be. More than anything, he wanted to get rid of his fears of bugs and manhole covers and nighttime and everything else.
He wanted to be like his dad, who wasn’t afraid of anything.
Only a dinosaur kept Nicholas safe and unafraid. It fit in his hand or in his pocket.
He could put it under his pillow, or tie it to his swimsuit. It was a very small dinosaur but it was a great BIG help because, as everyone knows, dinosaurs are like Dads: they’re not afraid of anything, either.
Nicholas put up a brave front. Everyone thought he was a fearless kid and life might’ve gone on just like that, with nobody knowing his BIG secret. Things would have been fine, except for one problem: Nicholas lost his dinosaur.
He’d tucked it in his sock just before he stepped onto the soccer field.
He thought it was there when he fearlessly kicked the ball right past the kid they call The Gorilla, a move that Nicholas’ mom got on video.
Dad said Nicholas was “incredible,” but Nicholas was incredibly sad. He couldn’t find his dinosaur.
He looked. And looked. He crawled almost the whole entire field on his hands and knees until it got dark but the dino was lost for good. What wasn’t gone were the same old fears – things the dinosaur kept away. How would Nicholas ever be able to sleep again? Would he ever be able to go outside in the dark? And how could he continue to convince people that he was totally fearless?
Dads fix things.
That’s what conventional wisdom would have you think: moms nurture, dads fix.
But in “Dad and the Dinosaur,” your child will see that fathers bolster hearts, too.
The fears are real inside this cute picture book, and only one thing keeps them at bay: a fierce and powerful dinosaur, lurking in the shadows of the pages in which Nicholas needs him. The illustrations by Dan Santat are clear about the creature’s protections and kids will understand that completely but beware!
The illustrations might be frightening on their own, were it not for the story itself: author Gennifer Choldenko gives this tale the most heroic, most wonderfully understanding Conquerer of Fears, and that guy knows how to make things right.
Don’t be surprised if it makes you melt, too.
While this book can surely be enjoyed by any 5-to-8-year-old, it appears to be more of a book for boys who idolize their Pops.
If you have one of those in your house, then “Dad and the Dinosaur” is scary-good.