By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagata-ken, 2008-10) for JQ magazine. A former head of the JETAA Philadelphia Sub-Chapter, Rashaad is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University with a master’s degree in responsible tourism management. For more on his life abroad and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.
During your elementary school days, you surely read about the primordial creatures you know as dinosaurs. But if you haven’t been reminded of the creatures that roamed the earth roughly 65 million years ago in some time, you might not realize that there’s more than meets the eye. Case in point: Tatsuya Miyanishi’s I Want That Love.
I Want That Love (the third book in Miyanishi’s Tyrannosaurus series of 13 titles that have sold more than three million copies internationally) tells the story of a Tyrannosaurus, who is described by the author as “the strongest of all the dinosaurs.” Not surprisingly, everyone is scared of him as he never fails at getting his way by force. But the good times don’t last—the Tyrannosaurus (whose name is revealed to be Mr. Rhadbodon)—is somehow sapped of his strength after being bitten in his tail by a Masiakasaurus.
As expected from someone whose identity is clearly tied to brute force, the Tyrannosaurus loses all sense of who he is, so he’s desperate to find any solution to the disaster that has befallen him. Fortunately, he receives help in the form of berries given to him by fellow creatures and he uses his newfound energy to protect his friends from other dinosaurs.
But if you think that strength is the most important attribute a creature can possess, you are mistaken. The Tyrannosaurus doesn’t believe so and he relays a very important lesson that has been seemingly passed down to the next generation (the protagonist is not involved in the final scene of the story, when a father Triceratops tells his son what he learned from the Tyrannosaurus).
As expected for a children’s story, I Want That Love is a short read that is full of illustrations (although in some of them it’s difficult to decipher what some of the creatures are) that give readers the sense the story is quite exciting. In fact, Miyanishi does an excellent job of capturing the impeding action in I Want That Love. There is a good deal of dialogue in the story (more than I expected) but most of the non-dialogue portion provides a sense that something exciting will happen or has happened.
A good story also provides a bit of the unexpected. Now, nothing really out-of-the ordinary appeared until the end, when I wondered why the Tyrannosaurus wasn’t involved in the final scene. Then after reading it, it dawned on me what happened to him. That final scene may be a bit challenging for younger readers, but it made I Want That Love more interesting and set it apart from other books aimed at little ones.
That being said, the story seemed to lack any touches of Japan. Miyanishi is an accomplished children’s writer, so it was my hope that I Want That Love would implicitly introduce a fascinating aspect of Japanese folklore to readers, such as the presence of dinosaurs in Japanese mythology (if tales of such creatures were prevalent in Japanese mythology). That didn’t really happen.
However, I Want That Love is a very enjoyable read that teaches the importance of friendship, love and tenderness. Young readers will also learn how life’s most important lessons can be passed down from generation to generation.
I Want That Love is available in English Dec. 1. A special launch event for families featuring reading, activities and prizes will be held Nov. 20 at 1:00 p.m. at Kinokuniya New York, 1073 Sixth Avenue, in New York City. Admission is free. For more information on Miyanishi, click here.