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Picture Book Tuesday: Dinotrux

Let it be known that I am resisting reviewing this book with the force of my entire soul.

I do not like this book.

Well---it's not the worst. It beats Dinotrux Dig the Beach, though if you asked my son Micah, I don't know that he could pick one without feeling disloyal to the other. He LOVES them. He loves all of them: Dinotrux, Dinotrux Dig the Beach, and Revenge of the Dinotrux, and as if that weren't enough, he loves the Netflix show, too.

So I find myself in the position of having to admit that these books are doing something right. I mean, hey. They weren't marketed to 31-year-old women; I guess it's cool that I don't choose them for my bedside reading.

But I'm trying to figure out what it is my son likes so much, what compels him to pull these books out of stack like a metal detector sensing gold in the sand. Here are the nuggets I can come up with:

1. The obviously effective move of pairing two toddler obsessions into one: not just a dinosaur, not just a truck, but a DINOTRUCK!!!

2. The introduction, which reads to me like the beginning of a documentary about planetary science: "Million of years ago, prehistoric trucks roamed the earth. They were HUGE. They were HUNGRY..." I am not physically capable of reading these words aloud without slipping into a poor imitation of a British male, an imitation which my son loves almost as much as the book itself. He now looks at me, upon turning to the first page, with eyebrows raised in gleeful anticipation. Then he tips his chin down to access his most baritone three-year-old pitch, and expounds with me: "They rumbled, roared, and chomped. And they did NOT get along well with others. They were called... DINOTRUX!!!!!"

3. The proliferation of gross sounds produced by these dinosaur-trucks. They snore. They belch. They pump out prehistoric ponds of diarrhea. They terrify cavemen; they fry fish alive in roaring rivers of heartburn-ing lava. Every bodily grunt and fart is critical to the reading of the story, my son has let me know in no uncertain terms. Missing a single "bonk!" or "yuck!" merits turning the page back and reading the entire paragraph again.

4. They get their comeuppance in the end. I don't know if this karmic energy impresses (or even registers with) my son, but I know MY favorite part of the book is when the big storm comes. No words are more beautiful than: "Dinotrux everywhere wheezed and sneezed. Most began to rust. They slowly sank into the goo and mud. AAA-CHOOOO!"**

**Unfortunately, they don't all die. The "smart" Dinotrux head south to escape the storm, spend millions of years learning to be helpful in place of being terrorists (okay, I do start to see the toddler connection here), and eventually wind up in museums, their headlights still flickering on and off eerily at night.

You know what, it's an all right book.

And I was wrong about my favorite line. My favorite line is on the third-to-last page, as the Dinotrux practice their newfound desire to do good in the world: "Come on, Dinotrux, lend a hand!" I love this line because my son has now adopted it and hollers it routinely in my direction - picture a little boy with tousled brown hair standing in a pool of refrigerator light, gazing at a too-heavy milk carton in the back of the fridge, roaring:

"Come on, Mommy, lend a hand!"

We need to work on please and thank you, but that quote gets me every time. Thanks, Dinotrux.

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