Attack of the Lizard King (Dinosaur Cove) by Rex Stone
|Attack of the Lizard King (Dinosaur Cove) by Rex Stone|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Two boy friends start a series of six adventures in a land of living dinosaurs in a nicely produced little volume for the under-nines. A slender story, but an interesting enough one, ensues.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 80||Date: March 2008|
|Publisher: Oxford University Press|
There is something very nice and simplistic about this book. Jamie and Tom can meet for the first time and be instant friends. Jamie's pocket dinosaur computer can come up with the right result from whatever input he gives it. Jamie can just have moved to the most idyllic cove-side lighthouse. And just like that the two friends can step into the world of the dinosaurs, meet a friendly critter with more smarts than at first appears, and have a great thrill avoiding tyrannosaurus rex.
That might be a kind way of saying the book reads from an adult remove as a little twee, a little too handy and linear, and very, very short. Still, for the boys (and this appears to be an all-male world) and the five-nine year olds choosing this series for their own reading, this is a nice, compact adventure, told with wonder, fantasy, magic and yet enough realistic drama (none of King Kong's shake your heroine til her head should fall right off).
There are many signs of the above the ordinary in its production too. Tiny little page-number side pictures show how we're in the age of the fossils or of the dinosaurs themselves. The cover is attractively embossed (still something that pleases me, anyway). The typography is cleverly beyond the norm as well, with size and font use brightening up the reading just as well as the rough and ready ink drawings do.
That said, the maps and detailed introductory little snippets will I'm quite sure appear too many times over the six books to provide continuing interest or value for money, and the much-lauded free stickers are a bit on the under-whelming side. And dino-purists will object if they think about it to the way the creatures are introduced with only tiny details (the best example of which gives the plot away, unfortunately) that are handy ways of avoiding the fact no-one knows what they looked or sounded like for sure.
Still, I should drop the adult mode and get back into the finely wish-fulfilling world of Dinosaur Cove. The spirit of the scene and its entering is very entertaining, the kinetic and detailed drawings just right, adding unwritten detail to the mix, and I might be doing the book a disservice with just four and a half stars. Having a child of the target audience to road-test it on might result in a more convincing review, but not much change to what is at the end a firm recommendation.
We would like to thank the OUP for sending the Bookbag a copy to stick all over – sorry, read.
If your child is interested in dinosaurs then this book is very much better than some. For a non-fiction look at dinosaurs for the confident reader then we recommend If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon.
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