Illustrated by: Bannister
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: August 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2013
The Big Rock Tribe had a bunch of bullies in it. Like as in big time. “Hey, Tib! Did you make a mess on your face while eating again?” That birthmark made Tib into a target. In fact it even looked like one because it circled around his left eye. Tib’s Papa and Mama had different ways of dealing with it. Put the bullies on ignore was Papa’s thought, but Mama got all upset about it. Tom and Kwini sure did see things differently so Tib walked off into the forest with his head cast down. Maybe, just maybe if he “could meet some new faces,” but he wasn’t expecting his wish to come true and certainly didn’t expect to meet such a big one.
A big red dino face suddenly appeared in front of Tib’s. “AAAH! I thought dinosaurs were extinct!” Well, not this one. It went away and then when it came back Tib noticed that it had something very unusual about it ... it had a mark on his face just like his! It was so cool to have a red dino for a friend, but when he told Papa and his friends, they thought he was making it up. No way were they going to believe him. “Don’t waste our time,” one of the kids jabbed at him, “make-believe, polka-dot face.” The only person who believed him was little Kara and when she saw the crunching, munching dino she screamed and scared it away!
Tumtum was just the name for a dino who looked like Tib. Tumtum was even a vegetarian and nom nom nom, even liked berries. He was a good friend, but everyone in the Big Rock Tribe thought Tib told tall tales like his Papa. “You have an imaginary friend!” Mama said as she squishy hugged him (yuk!), “That’s so sweet.” Every time Tib tried to get Tumtum to show his face, he would suddenly disappear. It was so cool to have a dino that even had a birthmark like his, but if no one could see him they’d think Tib was a liar AND a “blob-face.” How would he ever get Tumtum to quit hiding and show everyone he was a real live dino?
This is a new series starring Tumtum, the dino, and Tib, a series young readers will love. Already a Junior Literary Guild Selection, this graphic novel will have wide appeal. Even the most reluctant reader will race to the end to see if Tumtum is actually going to show his face to the tribe. Tib, who is bullied, really needed someone he could relate to and that someone was Tumtum, a very loveable critter who has a similar birthmark. The very interesting twist at the end is a perfect segue that will make Tumtum a valued member of Big Rock society. The panels are very bright, bold, and marvelously appealing. The message that it’s really kind of awesome to be different and that bullying is just not cool will click with young readers. Great new series to watch out for!
Quill says: This is an excellent graphic novel to introduce to young students who love dinos and dislike bullies!