Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark Book Poster Image
Cute dino and friend face their fear together in sweet tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the dark isn't totally dark when you're outside and the stars and moon light up the sky. 

Positive Messages

"There's always a light shining somewhere ... Even in the dark." "But even mighty beasts get scared if we can't sleep with our nighty-lights." When you and your friend are scared together, maybe you "can be brave together, too." Inside, a night light can help make the dark not so dark. And outside, the stars and moon can help.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tiny is sweet and open about his fear of the dark, both indoors and outdoors. He's a good friend to Pointy. Tiny's parents, aunt, and siblings are present inside Tiny's house, but they don't interact with him in this story.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark is the follow-up to author Jonathan Stutzman and illustrator Jay Fleck's Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug. Here, Tiny and his best friend Pointy (a stegosaurus) are in their jammies and about to embark on a backyard campout. The ony trouble is they're both afraid of the dark. This cute, sweet, relatable story of friendship and conquering your fears has clever language, lovable characters, and irresistible art. 

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What's the story?

In TINY T. REX AND THE VERY DARK DARK, young Tiny and his best friend Pointy are beginning a backyard campout, and they're nervous, because they've never slept outside before, and they're both afraid of the dark. They set up a string of colored lights outside their tent, but when the lights go out, they're scared for a minute. Then when they look out of the tent and up in the sky, they see the bright, twinkling stars and a crescent moon, and all is well. 

Is it any good?

This delightful, reassuring picture book deals with a common childhood fear in a fun, creative, and lighthearted way. Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark tackles fear of the dark head-on, and models a couple of kids -- dinosaurs, in this case -- working through it. It's respectful of their feelings while showing there's actually some natural light outdoors that can help make the dark feel less scary.

Author Jonathan Stutzman's inventive, kid-like language is a big part of the fun. Tiny fears they can't sleep without their "nighty-lights." "And when there are no nighty-lights ... the Grumbles and Nom-bies come out." He notes that it's "hard to be brave when you are scared of the Crawly-creeps." This helps convey Tiny's deeply felt fears and makes for a lively read-aloud that works as a fun bedtime tale or a conversation-starter about fear of the dark or other fears. And Jay Fleck's illustrations are adorable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Tiny deals with his fear in Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark. Do you ever feel afraid of the dark? What's scary about it? What helps you feel safe? 

  • Have you ever camped out in the backyard or in the wilderness? Would you like to? Do you think it would be scary or fun -- both? 

  • Why do you think the author of this book decided to have dinosaurs act like real kids? is it fun to imagine them that way? Try making up and drawing your own story with animal characters. What animals would you choose? 

Book details

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For kids who love picture books and bedtime stories

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