Narrated by a father talking to his young daughter, THE LAST SURVIVING DINOSAUR: The TyrantoCrankaTsuris tells the story of one little dinosaur, the aptly-named TyrantoCrankaTsuris. Other, larger dinosaurs make fun of the little reptile because of her size, causing her to become really angry and “let out the biggest and loudest CrankaTsuris,” during which she complains about her many foot problems. Her moaning and groaning gets so noisy the entire planet shakes, causing the other dinos to vanish. Only one other small dinosaur, the TyrantoKvetchaTsuris, survives, and from them the reptiles evolve over millions of years into humans.
Joseph clearly drew from his Jewish roots to create this tale, as he starts the book noting that “tsuris” is Yiddish for “problems.” The relatives Joseph mentions in the book each try to outdo each other in terms of who has the most issues, and he notes that everyone can be a TyrantoCrankaTsuris sometimes. Joseph also points out that it is important not to let this inner beast out all the time, as it could cause an imbalance that sends the world into darkness again. And while this is an important lesson for any young child, Joseph could have gone further in emphasizing the wellness benefits of positive thinking and being grateful for what you have. He focuses a little too much on crankiness as part of the human psyche, instead of something everyone should work on overcoming for a more harmonious world. He writes at the end of the book that the TyrantoCrankaTsuris makes things “okay and safe,” a note that could also confuse little readers.
TyrantoCrankaTsuris wears a pink hat throughout most of the book with no explanation as to why, which just makes her more endearing and adorable. And while it takes a few pages to get to the actual dinosaur segment of the story, the illustrations make it worth the wait. Enjoy reading this book to young children while explaining why crankiness often equals ungratefulness, since being grateful is widely regarded as one of the keys to happiness.
THE LAST SURVIVING DINOSAUR: The TyrantoCrankaTsuris is a cute and clever tale with delightful illustrations by Andy Case, especially those of the titular dino.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader