| by Gennifer Choldenko|
illustrated by Dan Santat
ages 4 to 9
G.P. Putnam's Sons
A heartwarming father-son story about bravery and facing fears.
Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers.
His dad was not afraid of anything.
Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).
With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.
Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Junior Library Guild
Even though Nicholas’s father, Big Nick, is “not afraid of anything,” Nicholas is afraid of “the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs lived, and the undersides of manhole covers.” A small plastic dinosaur Nick keeps in his pocket gives him courage, and Santat (Are We There Yet?) leaves no doubt about its power: in times of need—whether striding under a night sky, trying to climb a rock wall, or racing down the soccer field—Nicholas is seen accompanied by a giant, ghostlike tyrannosaurus that provides assistance and confidence. When Nicholas loses his lucky dinosaur, he and his father set out on a nighttime quest to find it: “It’s guy stuff,” Big Nick tells his wife. Choldenko’s (Putting the Monkeys to Bed) poignant fantasy envisions a father who, like a certain tyrannosaur, looms large in his son’s mind. Her knowing, understated storytelling and Santat’s warm, expressive spreads give full credence to the fears that weigh on kids, as well as the presences—both real and imagined—that can help alleviate them. Ages 5–8. —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Choldenko excels in creating believable characters whose empathy and emotional quotients match their other successes. … This works as a story about bravery, as well as a paean to dads.”—Booklist