T is for Terrible – Peter McCarty
Tyrannosaurus Rex is a terrible lizard–but he can’t help it. It’s in his nature to be enormous, and hungry, and shake the ground when he runs. But he was a baby too, and had a mother, and doesn’t know how to be anything less than terrible.
Where Little Bunny on the Move was comforting and sweet, T is for Terrible is poignant and a little bit uncomfortable, in a great way. Just the idea of poor T-Rex as a creature troubled by its own nature is…well, it’s a really fascinating way to look at a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur. I’m particularly fond of the hopeful sort of way in which he asks “Would I be so terrible if I were pink?” and poses there, looking as smiley as a T-Rex can, the color of bubblegum. My other favorite bit is when he wishes he could be a vegetarian, “but I am Tyrannosaurus Rex, and I do not eat trees,” followed by a clever spread of T-Rex breaking through the trees with his mouth wide open, and the other dinosaurs scattering in fear. That spread is so evocative–the reader knows why he’s there, it’s a scene straight out of every other dinosaur book–and yet it’s tinged with this inevitability and sadness. T-Rex is going to kill and eat other animals no matter what–and if he wonders about his own nature, then clearly the other dinosaurs are also sentient enough to do the same. Then the whole thing is oddly softened by your sweet, pastel, rounded art style, making it terrible and lovely at once. What a fantastic way to broach the subject of the food chain, not to mention extending the metaphor to help us all to better understand people who do things we consider to be wrong. It’s a strange story you’ve created here, but I love it–five stars.