Roara the tyrannosaurus just wanted to make friends, but her loud roar and gigantic tail scared off any possible friends. With some coaching, though, she learns to be less scary and finds some pals.
The story of the red dinosaur is the creation of Josh Dechant, Hays, and his daughter, Marley, 6.
“It was all her,” Dechant said of his daughter Tuesday at O’Loughlin Elementary School, where he read the first book “Hello Roara!” to students in the Hays USD 489 summer reading camp and led them in an activity.
Dechant, a stay-at-home dad and web developer, read to and with his daughter almost since she came home, he said.
“We would do these hunt-and-find games in each book we would read. I’d have her find the tree, find the balloon in whatever were were reading,” he said.
Eventually, Dechant designed a mobile app just for him and his daughter to use for their games. It needed a story, however.
“So we started making our own story, and what better to do a story on than dinosaurs?” he said.
Marley, then 2, knew where to look for inspiration.
“My little stuffed dinosaur,” she said.
She had a stuffed toy dinosaur she named Roara that she carried everywhere, Dechant said.
“Marley helped with absolutely everything, the name, her color, her design,” Dechant said.
Dechant did the initial sketch for Roara, a red T-rex.
“This actually started out to be just a mobile app, a mobile game for us to just play with and tinker with. Along the way, someone said, ‘You should publish that in a book.’ So we did,” he said.
“That was its own journey in itself. We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” he said.
He teamed up with Tamara Forge, a British children’s writer, to help create new characters and write the text of the story.
But along the way, Marley always had a say.
“She’s kind of my litmus test for everything. If she likes it, I’m going to assume other kids are going to like it, too,” Dechant said.
Dechant has created a website with more information on Roara at www.roararex.com.