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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putnam Oakes

AR Level: 5.1
AR Points: 7.0
AR Quiz Number: 172183
Page Count: 217

Somehow last Fall, amidst the flurry of activity around our book fair and the annual FAME conference (Florida Association of Media in Education) in Orlando, Florida, I managed to wrap up my reading of Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putnam Oakes. I've been a bit busy to saw the least and so I am JUST getting the post out now.

Dinosaur Boy is a middle grade fiction novel that is on our Florida Sunshine State Young Reader list. The FSSYR program is designed to get students to take on a reading challenge and vote for the one they think is the best out of 15. Happily, a number of the authors of the FSSYR books were at the FAME conference and I got a chance to meet and chat with a few.

 My first impression of Dinosaur Boy was that it was kind of a long book to have a cartoonish cover. I wasn't sure that the kids at my school who might be interested in a cartoon half-boy half-dinosaur would be able to stick with a book this long. Turns out I was wrong. It has been incredibly popular and I find myself wishing I had more copies (we have two).

When I book-talked Dinosaur Boy, I told my students that this was the story of a kid who found out he has the dinosaur gene, a remnant of an experiment gone wrong with his grandfather. He struggles with the change as his scales and plates arrive, especially with gaining acceptance from his peers. Mid to late in the book there is a sudden curve ball out of left field. When reading I was kind of shocked because the twist didn't seem to fit the story line, but there was still plenty of book left at that point to make it sort of work. The twist actually helped me to sell this book to my students, because I talked it up as shocking,but of course would not say what it was. Thats all it takes to get kids begging for a book.

I enjoyed this book because I felt like even though the Dinosaur Boy character was going through some scary changes, he was still relatable for students. Also, I like that there is already a sequel on the way. It keeps my readers going and that is a joy.

Have you read Dinosaur Boy? Let me know what you think! Stop by my Facebook page and drop me a message www.facebook.com/mssmithreads