Dinosaur Boy

Dinosaur Boy - Cory Putman Oakes

It all started with a bump. A little one. Right on the back of my neck.


- First Sentence



And so begins Sawyer's big summer change. Last summer, Sawyer's friend, Elliot grew 5 whole inches. Sawyer's change is a bit different, he has the dinosaur gene and is growing plates, a tail and spikes (he is part Stegosaurus). This is unusual, but not unheard of. Scientists at Amalgam Labs experimented with DNA hybridization and created human/dinosaur hybrids, so now some children exhibit dinosaur characteristics.


When Sawyer returns to school (5th grade), he is the target of bullies, with the intensity increasing as the days go by. The new principal claims to be there to protect Sawyer and she begins expelling anyone caught bullying him. But, her intentions may not be completely altruistic.


As the book proceeds, Sawyer, Elliot and the strange new girl become fast friends and try to fight the bullies. But, they also discover that the principal may not be what she seems. And as bullies continue to disappear, Sawyer and his friends start to wonder where they are going exactly.


This is a cute book that kids will enjoy. I knew something was going on, but the twist took me by surprise. I think the kids will be surprised too.

I mean I thought the principal was maybe involved with the lab or something, but to find out she is a pet supplier from Mars? Where did that come from?


(show spoiler)

I thought this book had no real substance, just a fun story - nothing wrong with that. However, when I got to the end of the book, I found a surprise. The Author's Note explains different ways that dinosaurs and people who study them are part of the book. It is a great explanation and gives kids a lot of information about the study of dinosaurs. An unexpected bit of learning that will please dinosaur fans. It is like finding Easter Eggs in a game or DVD = FUN.


Recommended to:

Readers in grades 3-5 who like their fiction with a dash of science mixed with dinosaurs.