first-ever Saint Louis Comic-Con a couple months ago and picked-up his storybook, "Derrick and Dinosaurs," because as someone who loves good artwork and dinosaurs it sounded right up my alley. A book geared toward smaller children, there still is plenty of fun jokes and neat references to local Saint Louis landmarks that grown-folk will enjoy the book too--I know I did!
The story centers on a young boy named Derrick who has an obsession with dinosaurs that doesn't just border on unhealthy, it crosses that line and eagerly stomps on it while yelling, "Rawr!" You see, Derrick decorates his room with dinosaurs, only plays with dinosaur toys, exclusively eats cupcakes and drinks root beer (as he heard dinosaurs like those food items), interrupts his classroom with dinosaur-yells, and otherwise behaves in a manner that upsets everyone around him. It all comes to a head when Derrick gets suspended from school for his behavior (on the day of the big field-trip downtown, no less) and is forced to put all his dinosaur-items in the basement until he can learn to behave while the rest of his classmates and sister, Becky, get to have fun on a field trip.
Derrick arrives downtown and upon letting-out the most impressive, "Rawr," the dinosaurs have ever heard, advises them to quit causing trouble at once. The dinosaurs convince Derrick to join them in causing a little bit of a ruckus however and they go around the city stomping on cars, invading baseball stadiums, chomping on cupcakes, guzzling root beer, and otherwise behaving in the manner you normally expect tourists to act but extra-worse.
Eventually upon being scolded Derrick tricks the dinosaurs into leaving town on their boats and the mayor gives Derrick the key to the city when it is discussed how without Derrick he probably wouldn't have been reelected due to all the destruction--regardless of your party affiliation I think we can all agree this mayor was one ineffectual politician and shouldn't be in power, but so goes politics. Everything ends well with Derrick realizing he's happy as a boy who loves dinosaurs, and that he doesn't actually need to be a dinosaur to find joy. He's allowed to put all his stuff back in his room and the story concludes on that positive note--at least as long as the dinosaurs never return or develop a taste for human flesh.
Kileen's artwork is wonderful, looking unique but at the same time giving off a bit of a vibe of, "Calvin and Hobbes," meets, "Peanuts," via the manner in which the human characters and dinosaurs are drawn. There is a nicely light and fanciful feel to the dinosaurs, with their love of cupcakes and root beer being a fun creative touch. I also like that the book acknowledges how even if Derrick eventually saves the day he isn't perfect--after all, for awhile he excitedly joins the dinosaurs in wreaking mayhem to a delightfully comedic effect.
Dan at his website and find the Amazon link for the book here.I look forward to reading other works by Dan Killeen and encourage you to check his stuff out as well!
5 out of 5 stars.