Dad and the Dinosaur

illus. by Dan Santat. 40p. Putnam. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399243530. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Nick is afraid of many things: giant bugs, the dark, manhole covers, and what lies beneath them. He longs to be brave like his dad. "His dad was not afraid of anything." Fortunately, Nick has a plastic dinosaur talisman that makes him fearless. When the dinosaur is safely in his pocket or tucked inside his soccer socks, Nick scales rock walls and scores amazing goals. Once the dinosaur is lost, however, Nick is filled with uncertainty and dread: "The night was as black as octopus ink, giant bugs were everywhere." After Nick confesses to his father that the dinosaur is the brave one, not him, he and Dad head out to search one more time. The toy is recovered, and Nick is relieved, especially after being reassured by his dad that "it's okay to be afraid. All guys are now and then." The mixed-media artwork by Caldecott winner Santat is sumptuous and full bleed. The nighttime scenes are particularly evocative, with Nick's imagined fears lurking around the edges. Slyly humorous as well as spooky, they keep the mood from getting too scary. This is a modern story reminiscent of Dumbo and his "magic" feather that readers will enjoy as they explore the ideas of bravery, ability, and what lies inside each of us.
VERDICT A winning book sure to attract and delight a wide audience.

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