You Are My Best Friend by Tatsuya Miyanishi, translated by Mariko Shii Garbi
Our favorite Tyrannosaurus is back. In spite of all the kindness he revealed in You Look Yummy, his bad rep seems to have caught up with him: He’s busy being “mean and fierce, nasty and selfish.” But is he really?
Just as he’s raising his usual threatening ruckus, he falls off a crumbling cliff into the ocean below. Sinking deeper and deeper, he has a moment of truth: “I’ve done a lot of bad things. No one will come to help me …” Expecting the Grim Reaper, Tyrannosaurus instead meets Elasmosaurus who lifts him out of the water, just “[b]ecause you called for help.”
For “the first time in his life,” Tyrannosaurus utters “’Th-thank you.’” With gratitude comes “a warmth in his heart” … and Tyrannosaurus makes his first friend ever. What comes hardest, however, is honesty: Tyrannosaurus lies about what he eats (red berries sound so much better than other dinosaurs), then lies about “‘hat[ing] the nasty guys’” who are bullies (he being the worst of them all on land), then lies once more about even knowing Tyrannosaurus (how’s he going to ever admit that now?).
What Tyrannosaurus does know is how much he enjoys friendship. And how much truth hurts: “His heart ached as he walked home, because he’s had to lie in order to make a friend.” But kindness begets kindness and even Tyrannosaurus’ worst victims notice their bully has changed. Tyrannosaurus no longer thinks only about himself – to the point that a single cry for “H-help!” is enough to make Tyrannosaurus risk his own life without a second thought …
Simple graphics in vibrantly bold colors, life lessons seamlessly woven into kiddie-friendly adventures, clever humor and easy empathy accessible to all ages, all ensure Tatsuya Miyanishi’s stories should cross cultures and borders with ease. Miyanishi – one of Japan’s most popular children’s book creators – has thankfully found a Stateside home with indie boutique press, Museyon, which publishes titles meant to take “readers of all ages around the world.” That Miyanishi’s Tyrannosaurus series is already a multi-million international success in multiple languages bodes well that Museyon will continue to stock U.S. shelves with further T-titles.
Here’s to many more gentle ROARs to come …
Published: 2004 (Japan), 2016 (United States)