How Big? Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle
"BEWARE, MY CHILD,
OF THE GIGANTOSAURUS, SO FIERCE AND WILD!
WITH TEETH AS LONG AS YOU ARE TALL.
HE'LL MAKE A SNACK OF ONE SO SMALL.
HIS FEET GO STOMP! HIS JAWS GO CRUNCH!IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, YOU'LL BE HIS LUNCH!"
Listen to Mama, Cretaceous kiddies! Even a boneheaded ankylosaurus or triceratops is just a crunchy appetizer for this guy.
Four little dinosaurs hear their mamas' warnings, but being kids, it's just a stimulus for a game of bogeyman, big time. At least, it is for young Bonehead, a feisty little ankylosaurus. He offers to play lookout from the top of a giant termite mound while his buddies, Bill, Finn, and Tiny play.
That's prudent! But wee Bonehead is not above a prank or two, or few! Just as the guys get going with their game, Bonehead sounds a warning!
"IT'S THE GIGANTOSAURUS!
QUICK! RUN AND HIDE!"
His three pals scatter and take cover, shivering with fear.
But there's no stomp and crunch to follow. It's only a harmless triceratops papa grazing nearby. Bonehead is convulsed with giggles at his gag.
"YOU RAN! YOU HID!
YOU WERE ALL SO SCARED!"
Bill, Finn, and Tiny are not amused, but Bonehead claims it was just a practice drill and they passed the test, so they go back to their game.
But Bonehead gets bored with his watch. As soon as he sees a diplodocus dad approaching, he can't resist sounding the alarm again, and then again.
The little dinos are definitely steamed. After their third run-through of the drill, they are ready to demote Bonehead from deputy duty. They've had it with the faux frights!
"WE'RE OFF TO EXPLORE.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO PLAY WITH YOU ANYMORE!"
Boney is left alone, and getting a little fearful. There's something big and noisy coming near and he hears a definite STOMP!
Will he wind up as the crunchy lunch?
As Publishers Weekly points out, it's "a witty cautionary tale that boils down to "The Ankylosaurus Who Cried Wolf." in Jonny Duddle's Gigantosaurus (Templar Books, 2014). Duddle arranges a cheerful near miss for his young prankster this time, in a lesson about lying well learned, all set in a rhyming version of the venerable Aesop's fable that gets the ancient truism across. Duddle's illustrations of a leafy and verdant Cretaceous jungle with lots of hiding places for his little herbivores make for some fun page turns, especially the concluding three-way gatefold which shows what almost happens to the little imposter when--not the dreaded gigantosaurus--but an unexpected airborne pteranodon stops by for a quick snack.
Duddle adds an appendix, "Meet the Dinosaurs in This Book," which includes the story characters and other dino denizons of the prehistoric landscape, including the parasaurolophus, and the real big guy of the swamps, the giganotosaurus. For fans of these creatures of the Cretaceous and Jurassic ages. with both exotic and old favorites, pair this one with Tim Myers' Down at the Dino Wash Deluxe. (Read review here).