Tommysaurus Rex (Scholastic, 2013, though it was first published in 2004 by Image Comics), is the latest graphic novel for the young reader from the masterful pen of Doug Tennapel (Ghostopolis, Bad Island, and Cardboard, to name a few). It's the story of a boy named Ely whose beloved dog and only friend, Tommy, is killed by a car. Ely goes off to spend the summer on his grandpa's farm, which was supposed to be fun, but there he becomes the target for a nasty bully.
But then Ely finds a T. Rex--a real, live, friendly dinosaur who seems to have a lot in common with Tommy.
Of course, there are logistical problems, and safety concerns, etc., but fortunately the town's mayor sees the T. Rex as a campaign prop, and allows Ely to keep his new friend....forgiving even the dino pee filling his convertible (bad luck, not deliberate T. Rex maleficence).
Randy, the boy who had bullied Ely earlier, though, is getting madder and sadder (his own dad took off and left him), and he can't stand the happiness of Ely and his Tommysaurus. So he tries to prove to the town that the dinosaur is a dangerous, ravening monster....and ends up in danger of loosing his own life.
Then there's a tear-jerking moment, but it only lasts a page or so, and then all ends happily.
Many of Tennapel's books involve loss of one kind or another--here it's the loss of a beloved animal friend, taken seriously and respectfully, and Randy's lost father. It's also a book about bullying (note-- Ely is forced to eat dog poo, which distressed me), and forgiveness (also serious topics), but it isn't all heavy stuff! There also lots about T. Rex training that's pure light-hearted fun, and the side-story with the mayor is very amusing.
So basically there's some bad, sad stuff, and some funny, whimsical, loving stuff, and if you have a graphic novel loving 10 year old around, it's spot on.
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.