Ting admires her costume. As she puts it on, she feels a funny little shudder. Ziiiip! Then she feels a mighty big shiver, and… CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP! DOUBLE HOP! STOMP! Ting becomes T-Rex Girl!
Ting is a smart and overall wonderful person who is very shy. When she creates a dinosaur costume for a school project, she discovers that it provides her with a sense of bravery that she has been missing. Soon, she must decide whether her newfound courage is from the costume or from inside.
With 22 pages of story and relatively spare text, T-Rex Girl is a quick and simple read. This makes the story eminently accessible for older toddlers and preschoolers, but school-age audiences will find little of interest here. The magical quality of Ting’s costume is too pat and takes away from the very real anxiety that many children (and adults) feel. If the goal of the adult reader is to explore concepts such as timidity and pluck, this book will require plenty of guided conversation. The lack of introspection and detailed narrative also help to create a bare bones story that is best suited for young listeners.
Issues with the narrative aside, the text flows well throughout the book. Instances of repetition and onomatopoeia, alongside clear indications of time and place, provide a solid narrative structure for the reader to follow. A pleasing rhythm makes for a cordial read. A variety of fonts are used to good effect throughout the book, and the occasional creative placement of text adds excitement.
The illustrations, rendered using Illustudio, are charming and colourful. There is a great balance between fanciful and realistic elements which both adds to the story and reinforces Ting’s creative personality. A small yellow creature can be found on every page and grows wings when Ting chooses to be brave even without her costume. Ting’s classmates feature an array of skin tones (although the majority are white), but no other diversity is evident. The artwork is boldly coloured and has good contrast, making the book suitable for group storytime settings.
T-Rex Girl is an attractively illustrated, simple story best suited to young children and thus limited in its ability to fully explore its central theme.
Sadie Tucker is a children’s librarian at the Vancouver Public Library.