Steven Joseph, an attorney and new Hoboken resident, released his first children’s book in April, titled “ The Last Surviving Dinosaur: The TryantoCrankaTsuris.”
The book tells the tale of how the dinosaurs became extinct — and not in the life-ending meteor shower the paleontologists often cite.
The TyrantoCrankaTsurisis is so cranky that she makes all the other dinosaurs disappear. That is, until she comes across the only dinosaur who is immune to her incessant complaining, the TyrantoKvetchaTsuris. These two dinosaurs evolved into humans, and that’s where “cranky” people come from.
Throughout the illustrated book, family members and dinosaurs humorously battle to have the best “tsuris,” including warts, alligator attacks, and brain tumors.
As it turns out, everyone has a bit of TryantoCrankaTsuris and TryantoKvetchaTsuris in him or her.
“The Last Surviving Dinosaur” reminds readers to be “mindful of when and how often they complain,” Joseph said.
Not in the cards
“It was all done sort of accidentally,” Joseph said. “I wasn’t planning on writing a children’s book at all.”
He was inspired by growing up in a Jewish family in the Bronx and becoming a father.
The dinosaur names are derived from Yiddish words.
The term tsuris is the Yiddish word for problems. Kvetch means to complain about those tsuris.
Joseph said growing up he had to learn how to manage his crankiness, particularly after naps when his brother would wake him up, and his family would then play a game in which they named the capitals of countries.
When his daughter was cranky, he’d tell her the story of the TyrantoCrankaTsuris. Then whenever she felt cranky she’d warn, “I’m feeling a little TyranoCrankaTsuris.”
The light of day
“That story just sort of came out of my head one day, and one night I just started writing it out,” he said. “Something just took me late one night, and I had to write it. The next morning I read it, and I said you know this is not bad.”
He sent it to a few people and some relatives, and eventually to a few publishers.
A year later, “The Last Surviving Dinosaur: The TyrantoCrankaTsuirs” was published by Mascot Books.
He dedicated the book to his adult daughter and to his mother, a concentration camp and breast cancer survivor who died in September 2017.
A life lesson
Joseph said he hopes his young readers learn that it’s okay to be cranky sometimes because it’s “human nature to be cranky, but we need to know how to recognize when we are cranky, and the effect it can have on us and the people around us, so that we can manage it.”
He hopes his readers learn the importance of listening to each other and speaking up.
“The Last Surviving Dinosaur: The TyrantoCrankaTsuris” is registered with the American Wholesale Book Company, Baker & Taylor, Follett Library Resources, Ingram, and Partners Book distributors and available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
It’s also at the Hoboken Public Library at 500 Park Ave.
Joseph hopes to do a reading at the upcoming library festival, scheduled for June 8 at Church Square Park, where he will have copies of the books for sale.
For updates on this and other stories check http://www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.