Rex by Cody B. Stewart, Adam Rocke and Mark Rogers is the kind of escapade any self-respecting young adventurer, boy or girl, would want to experience. When TJ Beaumont, aged eleven, finds a very large, very weird looking egg while out on a Cub Scout expedition in the Florida Everglades, he just knows he has to sneak it home. This might be his only opportunity to finally have a pet, since his long suffering single parent mom (Ellen) has said no to a dog. But hey, whatever comes out of that egg will do. A pet’s a pet, isn’t it? TJ loves his mom, who works two jobs to put food on the table and pay the bills. Ellen has sacrificed her dream of visiting Africa to be a good parent. And TJ’s a good kid. He’ll think about telling his mom later. How hard can it be to hide and feed whatever comes out of that egg? But when the men in black pitch up at their door and the military helicopters start circling overhead, on the hunt for something possibly dangerous, TJ starts to get worried. And when whatever is in the egg hatches out and TJ finds his room just about demolished, he knows it isn’t going to be that easy to hide and feed Rex (so named for very obvious reasons) for very much longer. The problem is the bad guys want Rex for very horrible and sinister purposes, and TJ isn’t going to go down without a fight. Neither is Rex.
This book is screamingly funny and kids will just love it. When I saw that little green tail disappearing off the edge of the cover, I just knew I had to read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love anything to do with dinosaurs so I was rooting for Rex from page one. TJ is a lovely character and kids will really relate to him, as well to his spunky friend (a girl) called Sam. Together they must devise a plan to get Rex to safety, but how and where? Where can you hide a creature that, no doubt emulating his ancestors, will grow very much bigger and have a mouthful of very large, sharp teeth? But Rex steals the show from the moment he hatches. He is just the most adorable character of them all. My best scene was when TJ has to get Rex out of the house and into the safety of the swamp without his mom finding out. TJ disguises Rex as a science experiment, but the hurried, although stringent, ‘stay’ training isn’t enough and the classroom descends into screaming chaos.
The action is sometimes frenzied, and at times I did wish the pace would slow down, but for kids this is probably normal speed for an adventure. I was very worried (I promise I was!) about where on earth Rex would finally find a home. The answer comes after an incredible scene of drama, loads of firepower, feats of derring-do, and the ultimate test of loyalty as Rex shows his love for TJ. I commend the authors because it was the perfect answer for a genetically modified and really rather sweet dinosaur. Action and adventure are there in abundance, but also the messages of loyalty, love, friendship and family, being responsible, doing the right thing, and knowing that unbreakable bonds, once forged, will remain forever.
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