Author: N.S. Blackman
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Dinosaur Books Ltd
Recommended Ages: 6+
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
A T-Rex in town? Raptors in the garden? Impossible! That’s what Marlin Maxton thought – until a visit to a museum, where he discovers life-size dinosaur displays with an incredible secret…
In this chapter book for kids age 6-8, dinosaurs are back – they are as awesome as their prehistoric predecessors – and able to talk, feel and learn how to face danger. Best of all they befriend Marlin and together boy and dinosaurs embark on a series of thrilling adventures – the first being to escape from the adults who fear them and are hunting them.
With vivid colour pictures the artwork helps to engage early readers who are moving fully into chapter books
Their exciting escapades are in the tradition of animal stories such as Watership Down; the animals are great characters. In this story, the dinosaurs are the heroes!
1. What is the book about? This book is about a boy named Marlin who goes to the museum and finds a secret room that is forbidden. In the room he finds a special metal dinosaur called Protos and he’s special because he’s alive. He finds a bunch of other special metal dinosaurs but they don’t work. So, Marlin has to clean them and then he charges the batteries and then they came to life. Then, a T-Rex stole Marlin and brought him to the museum because the dinosaurs all thought he stole Protos’ battery. Marlin helps them find the battery.
2. What do you think of the pictures in the book? I really like the pictures in the book but since they are so good, I think you should put in more. My favorite picture is on page 72 because there’s a T-Rex with a golden head and I like gold.
3. What is your favorite part of the book? My favorite part of the book is when Marlin is picked up by the T-Rex and thrown onto his back for a ride because it looks like fun.
4. What is your favorite dinosaur in the book? My favorite dinosaur in the book is the T-Rex because his name is Flame and I have a cat named Flame. My favorite dinosaur not in the book is an Ankylosaurus because if I got whacked by that big tail, I would fly and it would be fun.
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I really, really liked the book and I want to read it every day. I prefer for my Mom to read it to me though. I want to read the next book for sure! I would like to give the book 50 stars, but again, my Mom won’t let me.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think kids who like dinosaurs would like this book. I also think that kids who would like to fly onto a dinosaur’s back would like this book. I think kids 5 years and older would like the story.
Son Rating: ★★★★★
Son Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: An inquisitive and brave young boy, large metallic dinosaur robots (aka, the “Dinoteks”), a villainous museum curator, and being swallowed by a gigantic T-Rex: there is your recipe for a great adventure that tweens will love! The Secret Dinosaur is the first book in the The Dinotek Adventures. This new book series targets boys (and reluctant readers in particular) between the ages of 6 and 10.
Marlin, the protagonist in the story, is a young boy whom we meet when his class takes a field trip to the local museum. Marlin wanders off and discovers a secret room filled with gigantic, life-size replicas of a variety of dinosaurs, all constructed with metal. Here he meets Protos, the Centrosaurus his uncle has been talking about, whom he brings to life with a simple repair. But sadly, Protos goes silent before long.
Every day, Marlin sneaks into the museum (ok, maybe breaking into a museum is not something that should be condoned) to polish the dinosaurs and bring them back to life. Soon, Marlin discovers that their batteries must be recharged and “ta-da” – the dinosaurs all come to life; except for Protos, whose battery is missing. Marlin must work with the motley crew of Dinoteks to recover the missing battery from Mr. Grubbler, the evil museum curator who has a devious plan to sell the Dinoteks for scrap metal. All this and the author leaves us with a delicious cliffhanger. I guess we’ll have to check out Book 2, Dinosaur Chase!
The Dinotek Adventures is a fun, creative story where science fiction and dinosaurs intersect. I read this book out loud to both my children in three sittings and they were completely captivated by the story. When the dinosaurs come to life and the T-Rex picks up Marlin and swallows him, the look on the kids’ faces as I read that part of the story was absolutely priceless! It sure captured and maintained their attention.
I also appreciated the addition of the simple illustrations some of which were in color while others were black and white. It really helps to break up the text and helps with the visualization of the Dinoteks. I must admit that I did not visualize Flame, the T-Rex with a gold head until I saw the illustration. I think it is especially important for books targeting the reluctant reader audience to have at least some illustrations.
My Bottom Line: The Secret Dinosaur is a fun early chapter book featuring a young boy who stumbles upon a secret; a fun and thrilling adventure; an evil villain (or two!); and, some unique and quirky robotic dinosaurs (the Dinoteks). I highly recommend this fun new adventure series for reluctant readers who will be very entertained by this fast paced story. Ages 6 to 10.
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review. The author has also participated in MDBR’s Book Promotional Services.*
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