Hooray! I’ve been waiting a long time to read The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs, the new book from Gary Northfield (creator of Derek the Sheep and the fantastic Gary’s Garden strip in The Phoenix). Now it’s finally here, and it’s every bit as good as I’d hoped…
Teenytinysaurs is a collection of stories about a bunch of young dinosaurs… Or, really, about a bunch of children, because the things they get up to are mostly children things rather than dinosaur things, if you see what I mean. The characters are kids who happen to be dinosaurs, and they while away their days daring each other to go into the cave where the bogeyman lives, wondering idly what the moon is made of, playing football, and annoying their big brothers.
It’s all very charming, VERY funny, and beautifully drawn, in a deceptively simple-looking style (Gary shares a studio with my Seawigs co-creator Sarah McIntyre, so I know how long these effortless-looking pictures actually took to do). The giant scraper-board underwater scene in the final chapter – all deep-sea dinosaurs and wierd luminous fish – is a masterpiece, but many of the simpler, smaller panels are just as good; I’m always amazed by the subtleties of expression Gary can convey with a couple of lines. He’s a good writer, too. He has that rare ability to include moments that are quite touching in among all the snot and poo jokes and goof-off physical comedy, but without ever getting twee or heavy-handed.
My son Sam (never a big reader) raced through this in about half an hour, and has been re-reading it ever since in the same way I used to re-read Asterix books when I was his age (11). He says, “Cor, it’s a BRILLIANT book, I wish there was a second one out!”
So, whether or not you are/have children, run out and treat yourselves to a copy of Teenytinysaurs: it’s BRILLIANT.
And if you’re in central London on 31st May, there’s a special launch party at Gosh Comics:
The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs is published by Walker Books.