Little Danny shouts to mom about a curious sight. There’s a dinosaur in the toilet bowl. She tells herself that can’t be right. The anxious woman trots upstairs, to see what he really means. From there, Horace Hughes launches a clever, story about loneliness and friendship with lots of funny scenes.
There’s a Dinosaur in the Toilet!, teases readers’ imaginations from the start with improbable circumstances, rhyme and a vividness that can tickle the intended readers – preschool to grade 2 – and even make adults laugh. Hughes says, Mom looks:
There, right in the toilet,
Behind her little man.
A tiny orange dinosaur
Was doing backstroke in the pan.
The tale continues to unfold with several surprises. One comes with a pause at certain expressions. Hughes is from the United Kingdom, but as is clear from the “backstroke” sentence above, the few different terms will not be hard for even listeners to decipher. The plot moves steadily with several eyebrow-raising twists. The plot develops slowly but readers’ attentions will not flag. The circumstances can be outrageous, yet the they the main characters are unique and constantly prod the “what if” that lurks beneath the surface in every person’s dreams.
The author makes readers and listeners grasp the a dino-child’s (or person’s) feelings. He is far from home, forced to adjust to a new life in a new place with new faces. The subtitle explains, the read-aloud book is for adults as well as pre- and early readers who need insights into the value of friendship and openness. In the post-Pandemic yearnings children and adults forget the loneliness that drove many to anxiety for company and the sight of old friends.
The author even sneaks in the answer to the questions most readers will have from page one -trembling, mom asks, “Did he come out from your bottom?…Or was he playing in the toilet?”
Hughes’ first print and digital foray into Children’s Literature is an extension of a lifetime of stories told to his three children. “They’ve all grown up now and encouraged me to share them with the world,” the author who lives in the United Kingdom explains on his website. The book delivers what such a story promises. Another very pleasant promise is that orange “dino” will be back in at least two more books for the same age group.