Posts tagged ‘dinosaurs’

AN ACTIVE IMAGINATION

Ronan’s Dinosaur

Written by Nadishka Aloysius

Illustrated by Manoshi de Silva

This chapter book features a five-year-old boy named Ronan who is suddenly moved to join his parents at his Grandmother’s rural home in Sri Lanka. Ronan and his parents lived in the urban area of Colombo.

Ronan is an anxious, lonely boy who does not like change. His parents have moved in temporarily to help his ailing grandmother. Ronan’s parents are kind and caring parents who do their best to assuage his fears. One day while playing in the garden, Ronan finds a lizard named Scoot. Scoot can talk. He explains to Ronan that she is a dinosaur. Ronan is skeptical, but he learns to enjoy exploring with her and making friends with Tryx, her dinosaur friend who lives in the trees.

When Ronan’s parents hear him talking aloud, they think he is talking to himself and become concerned. So, they take him to visit a neighbor next door who has a dog named Spike. Ronan is afraid of the dog, until Scoot talks to the animal. Again, Ronan learns he has nothing to fear.

Ronan’s grandmother has a setback and must visit the hospital. There he confides in his grandmother and reveals his secret. She remembers her own youth spent with Scoot. The time has come to sell the house and move to a nursing home. Ronan is devastated. Will Ronan ever see Scoot again?

This is a wonderful book to share with children who like to be alone or who experience anxieties. It gently explains that change is not necessarily bad and that we grow from personal experiences both real and imaginary. Targeted for children ages seven and older. I would especially recommend it for ages nine through twelve as a portion of the vocabulary is challenging.

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PARENTS LOST IN TIME

The Adventures of Caroline: and the Time Machine

Written by Eric and Elena Oberst

Illustrations by Manoj Bhargav

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Charming chapter book targeted for readers in the six to twelve age range. This book stretches more than one hundred pages, and is best suited for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket. Color illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are well done; they capture the dreamy quality of the fantasy tale.

Caroline is an inquisitive and imaginative eight year old who lives with her Auntie Ann since her parents mysteriously disappeared when she was four years old. On a cold morning in January, Caroline is bored and decides to go up to the attic, which is one of her favorite places to explore She rummages through one of the trunks and finds something new at the bottom of one of them. It is a box with dials, buttons and antennas that looks like an old radio. She experiments with the dials and sets it to June 15, 2015. When she goes downstairs for a snack, she finds the weather outside is warm and the birds are singing. Caroline has stepped six months into the future.

Discovering that the device seems to work, Caroline sets it back to the time of the dinosaurs. She gets more than she bargained for when she encounters T Rex. By quickly turning the dial, Caroline escapes but finds herself in the Pleistocene Age with Woolly Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers. Again she hurriedly sets her dial. This time she is about one hundred years in the past near her house where she meets a little boy named Tommy who wants to befriend her. Caroline sets the dial once more and arrives back at Auntie Ann’s house.

After doing some more research, Caroline tracks down her parents’ whereabouts on the day they disappeared. She is determined to go back to the past and find out what happened to them. But will she get more than she bargained for? Will Caroline be able to bring her parents back to her time or will she step into theirs?

This book is a delightful science fiction/fantasy time travel tale that has a broad appeal. Caroline is a strong, determined female role model who knows what she wants and goes after it. The short chapters with appealing illustrations make it a good choice for a class read aloud and discussion. Look forward to the next book in the series. Warning! The end of book one is a cliffhanger.

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FRIENDS TILL THE END

A Dinosaur Quest: The Adventures of a Brontosaurus Prince

Written by J.C. McKenna

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Adventure tale of three young dinosaur friends who learn a lot about life after becoming a bit too curious. Parthius is an adolescent prince who has two good friends, Amidon and Krillos. He lives in the land of Egos, where his father is a beloved king. One day, he and is friends decide to explore the nearby forest. His parents have warned him that he must always stay with his own kind and that it is dangerous to set foot on the land of other colonies. When Krillos falls into a lake and disappears, Amidon and Parthius search for him; they find themselves trapped in a faraway land. Their king, Kratonix, decides to send them to Jade Mountain to search for a magic scepter that will bring him unlimited power. Kratonix appoints Eudox as their guide. No matter what happens, Kratonix comes out on top. Either the boys will die in the attempt or he will gain unlimited power.

As the four of them travel on their perilous journey, each will learn a lot about themselves. The boys will need to face their fears and reaffirm their friendship; Eudox will reveal secrets that he has hidden even from himself. There will be many physical and emotional obstacles along the way. Will the boys succeed in their quest or perish? Does Prathius ever return to rule his kingdom?

This story is written without chapter breaks that might have been a help for younger readers. Dialogue is excellent and appropriate for the characters who are developed very well in this short seventy page read. Though the book does need some editing, most readers will not be bothered by it. McKenna has a good feel for a middle grade reader who will be drawn into the adventure. I think that the book is a good fit for an eight to eleven year old audience.

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DINOSAUR DIMENSION

Dinosaurs! A Kids Book About Dinosaurs Fun Facts & Amazing Pictures…..

Written by Alexander G. Michaels

DinosaursDimension

 

This e book of approximately seventy-five pages is thorough and well organized. Despite a few minor editing and program errors, it provides a treasure trove of information for the young scientist who is a dinosaur enthusiast. The table of contents provides an easy reference guide to access quick facts. I would recommend the book especially for children ages nine and older. Younger children will enjoy the pictures, but may find independent reading a bit difficult.

Michaels explains terminology and moves through the three parts of the Dinosaur Age, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. He covers the fossils, eggs, food, habits, intelligence, speed and size of sixteen different types of dinosaurs. Michaels devotes a few pages to each type, some commonly known species like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and lesser known species such as Spinosaurus. Each section contains the dinosaur’s name, origin, description, photograph, place of habitat, food sources, size, method of locomotion, and level of intelligence.

The last section of the book discusses the possibilities that caused the extinction of a life group that inhabited the planet Earth for 150 million years. Scientists believe a giant meteor or volcanic eruption are most likely. Either of these would have filled the skies with debris that blotted out the sun and destroyed dinosaur food sources. Highly recommended for anyone who is eager to know more about dinosaurs. It deserves a place on classroom and library reference shelves as a good starting point for research on the topic.

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TRIP THROUGH TIME

Time Taxi: Book One: Back to Your Beginning

Written by Bruce Boyce

Illustrated by Daniel Demirdjian

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Jack and Jill (they hate their names) are bored twins on summer vacation who live in the suburbs. They are tired of reading, watching TV, playing video games and texting friends. When Jill gets a weird message on her cell phone with a picture of a taxi on Jack’s screen and an invitation to take a taxi ride, they are mystified. After a phone call to their dad who confirms that he knows about the taxi, they follow the yellow brick path down the road where the yellow taxi marked Timeless awaits them.

The driver named Numan, who is a cloud shape-shifter, explains that they are going to take a trip through time using a wormhole as a short cut. Here the twins will meet their ancestors and experience what life was like on earth before life was human. First stop is more than three billion years in the past when the moon was three times bigger and life consisted of slimy green forms on rocks. Their next stop takes them inside a small primitive fish named Astraspis diserata. Jack experiences life as an Ichthostega, a life form that has made the transition to land having both gills and lungs. Their journey proceeds through the evolution cycle to Dimetrodon and the ancestors of the dinosaurs. Then they arrive in the dinosaur age just before the meteor hits the earth destroying most of the planet. As they continue forward, Jack and Jill meet their mammal ancestors, Australopithecus, Homo erectus and the wild wolves that were tamed and taught men how to hunt for food. Now men could hunt for meat and their brain size increased dramatically allowing them to become superior. When the children and the taxi arrive home at last, they find an unexpected surprise on their doorstep.

This book is a fantastic way to teach evolution and history, while allowing students to experience a fantasy adventure at the same time. The reader can imagine herself inside these creatures as the twins go on their riding adventures. They probably won’t realize how much knowledge they are absorbing. Middle grade students should find the reading level comfortable, and the colorful illustrations are an added bonus. Highly recommended for teachers and librarians to add to their bookshelves. Lovers of fantasy, history, time travel and adventure ages eight and above should not miss this one!

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VERACITY OF VELOCIRAPTORS

Meet the Velociraptor: Fun Facts and Cool Pictures

Written by Julian Hawking

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The author sets out to set straight the facts about velociraptors made famous in the Jurassic Park movie, which are in many ways misleading. They were not huge animals, probably the size of a large chicken; they were appear to have been solitary animals, and they were warm blooded, not cold blooded like the large dinosaurs roaming the earth at that time.

The velociraptor’s name means swift seizer and it flourished in the Cretaceous period about 75 million years ago, shortly before the dinosaurs were wiped from the earth by some disaster, probably a meteor. It probably did not live in the United States but in a hot, arid climate like central Asia because no skeletons have been found in the U.S. Their bones are hollow like that of a bird They probably had feathers, not the scales of cold blooded reptiles. The animal probably stood only two or three feet tall and weighed about 30 pounds similar to the size of a human toddler. Characteristics that the movie presented accurately include the over-sized back feet claws and the serious teeth. The velociraptor had a large brain compared to most dinosaurs and fairly sophisticated sight, hearing and smelling. They probably foraged and hunted for food and had a lifespan of about twenty years. With their long back tails, velociraptors probably had a good sense of balance and could jump very well.

So are we surprised that Hollywood actually modeled the dinosaur in the movie on the larger deinonychus, but changed the name to velociraptor because it had a better ring to it? Children and adults who are into dinosaurs now have the real scoop. I read the kindle version on an HD Fire, but the photos could not be fully appreciated. Print versions show better detail. Recommended for ages eight and up.

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DINOSAUR DIG DILEMMA

The Berenstain Bears and the G-Rex Bones

Written by Stan and Jan Berenstain

G-Rex Bones

This e book version is based on the 1999 book version of the same title. The authors have published more than 250 books in this series with the beloved Berenstain bears. I really enjoyed this book. As a bonus it includes an excerpt from The Berenstain Bears and the Phenom in the Family.

At the beginning of the tale we encounter Ralph Ripoff relaxing at home when the doorbell rings. The door opens to reveal that Professor Zoltan Bearish has come to make a proposal.  It appears that this is a very unlikely and strange relationship. The Professor is a well respected chemistry professor at the Bearsonian Institution. Why is he coming to engage Ralph Ripoff, the notorious swindler in a scheme?  Simply because Zoltan wants revenge!  Actual Factual recently had him fired from his position for what Zoltan considered a trivial reason.  The reader learns that the well known dinosaur expert, Professor Factual has been searching for years to complete a T-Rex skeleton in the rotunda of the Bearsonian. Zoltan’s plans include faking the discovery of an even greater find, that of a giant dinosaur skeleton. He asks Ralph to find other accomplices and stage a fake digging discovery. Ralph is bothered by this because he does not want to hurt the reputation of an innocent man, but his love of profit wins out over his conscience. Zoltan manages to persuade Ralph and the swindle is staged. One year later after he is no longer in danger of being arrested for fraud, Zoltan will reveal that the discovery was a fraud by using chemical analysis.  One of the bones is marked by a chemical symbol known only to himself.

Plans do not go smoothly. The bear cubs are on a school trip when they notice something amiss in the desert, a large truck and some digging near Sandcrab Jones’ small house in the desert. They persuade Papa Bear to drive out to the desert to investigate. But the family lock themselves out of the car. A tour bus visiting the dinosaur discovery site rescues them, and affords them the opportunity to look around the discovery site.. Finally, the day for the sale and unveiling of the reconstructed skeleton arrives. Professor Actual Factual will be paying five million dollars for the skeleton. Will the fraud be discovered? If so, how will the culprits be discovered and punished. There are several surprises  and unexpected events in store for the reader. This nearly seventy five page chapter book will appeal to children who are dinosaur lovers, detective story enthusiasts, and of course, Berenstain Bear followers.

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