Review: Tyrannosaurus Ralph
Dinosaurs! Gladiator-like fighting! Aliens! A fabulous combination that will have elementary-age readers banging down the library or bookstore doors for more.
By Nate Evans and Vince Evans
AMP! Comics for Kids. 2017. ISBN 9781449472085
PBK, $9.99. 180pp.
Grades 3 and up
When Ralph meets his nemesis, his bully, in the park, he is saved but then killed in a stampede caused by an escaped Tyrannosaurus. An ingenious but nutty scientist puts Ralph’s brain into the T-Rex, and now Ralph has the body of a dinosaur. But the reason he needed the T-Rex was to fight an alien who threatened to destroy the earth if he was not allowed to fight gladiator style.
Ralph meets aliens of all sorts, and though unsure he’s cut out to win the fight, he eventually enters the ring to win honor for a sweet little alien and save her from enslavement and servitude.
Readers will be swimming in the colors, and there are many jokes, zings, and funny situations in both the art and text, but the underlying themes of bravery and friendship allow the title to be more than just a silly comic book. Quirky characters like the Quasimodo-like assistant and Ralph himself round out the book.
The end leaves itself open for a sequel. I think we’ll see it soon. This will be a surefire hit with elementary age children, especially boys.
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © amp! Comics for Kids.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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