Dinosaurs, dogs, poo and abandonment issues

Tommysauras Rex by Doug TenNapel

Tommysauras is a graphic novel about a boy named Ely who isn’t very good at making friends. Ely has one person in the world he loves though and that’s his dog, Tommy. When Tommy is hit by a car and killed, Ely is so devastated his parents send him to spend the summer with his Grandfather. While he’s there he meets a bully called Randy who chases him into a cave where he finds a tyrannosaurs. With a new best friend, nothing can stand in Ely’s way. Nothing but Randy.

I found this book lovely and also weirdly disjunct (apparently that’s not a word? Whatever, surely everyone understands what it means so it obviously is a word). One the one hand there was a lot of whimsical boy humor, a giant dinosaur who does tricks and  enormous poop jokes all over the place. It’s completely charming, very delightful, very boyish. It’s great.

On the other hand it’s got some pretty intense content. I mean, aside from Ely witnessing the death of his dog and doing some serious grieving, and (spoiler!) the death of Rex, the bully character of Randy is developed into a boy who is just desperate to have his father come back into his life. Pet death is hard, and Ely’s lack of human friends make it so much worse, so much more real-world sad. And Randy’s  whole life revolves around his lack of a father, the ways he struggles to maintain relationships with other people and the lengths he’d go to just to get him back. It’s really heart breaking.

So serious story, serious issues in this book but also it involves a dinosaur clearing a field of trees. Sometimes I feel like serious content disguised as a silly story is the best way to go, but this one just didn’t seem to connect them all the way somehow. I mean, I did really enjoy it and I’m glad it gives kids an opportunity to read and think and relate to parental absence but it didn’t quite click for me.

Still really liked it though. Particularly the conversation between Ely and his grandpa about who teaches you right from wrong if you don’t have a father.

Although obviously, I think a mother could to that too.

Last movie I watched: Sabrina. Or part of it anyway. I really like that movie but I’m no good at watching anything if I’m curled up in bed.

Last TV episode I watched: Probably something dumb. Big Bang Theory maybe?


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