by author Rashmi Sirdeshpande
Never Show a T-Rex a Book is about a T-Rex who discovers reading, falls in love with books and learning and finds that the world is her oyster. Does anyone know what expression actually means?! So bizarre! But it’s the basis of the whole story: books as a gateway into absolutely everything. That and the power of the imagination.
I wrote this story to celebrate ALL the different types of books out there. Because there are so many and I really do believe that there’s something for everyone. I talk about this on school visits (I miss those!) and children’s eyes light up when I show them so many different books from comics, poetry, and factual books to funny books and fantastical adventures. I can almost see their little minds cycling through the options. T-Rex picks up all sorts of things too – classics, cookbooks, and books on nature, travel, art, maths, music and more. She can’t get enough of them (so thank goodness for libraries, really, and no wonder she’s obsessed with them!).
These books are such an eye-opener for T-Rex. Excited and inspired, she thinks about all the things she can do with what she’s learned. And Diane Ewen shows her contemplating various ideas through the most gorgeous vignettes. She’s such a gifted illustrator – there’s so much colour and warmth and so many joyful details in her artwork throughout the book. She’s so good at bringing that escalation to life too. And things really do escalate as T-Rex becomes Prime Minister and she and her fun-loving friends cause all kinds of chaos! Because despite the underlying themes of reading for pleasure, raising aspirations, and supporting libraries, it’s not a messagey book – it’s a romp. Not that there’s no room for messagey books! As T-Rex would no doubt tell you, there’s a place for all books. But this one – let’s call it a romp…with layers.
This book has a special place in my heart as the first picture book I ever wrote and the first book I ever sold (even if How To Be Extraordinary, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, managed to sneak ahead in the publication schedule!). So I filled it with all the things I care about and all the things I believe in – like books (of all kinds!), libraries, friendship, the wonders of the imagination, and the idea that you should be able to be and do anything you set your heart and mind to. I know that’s a LOT to pack into a picture book but I didn’t have to do it alone. Diane’s pictures do so much of the heavy-lifting and I just love how it’s turned out. It’s a book I would have loved growing up and one I hope little people everywhere will enjoy too.
Never Show a T-Rex a Book is published by Puffin on 6th August 2020.
Any thoughts or opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.