Astrosaurs 22: The Castle of Frankensaur by Steve Cole
|Astrosaurs 22: The Castle of Frankensaur by Steve Cole|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: An incredible series that gets boys reading - and keeps them reading.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: August 2012|
|Publisher: Red Fox|
|External links: Author's website|
I bought my first Astrosaurs book as a read aloud book for my dinosaur-mad four year old. He loved it, but not quite as much as his eight year old brother and we've been collecting the books ever since. It's a large collection with a total of thirty books in print so far (including Astrosaurs Academy). Many parents have credited this series with massive improvements in their children's reading level, and I'd have to agree with this. It isn't that the book has some magical formula to develop literacy, but simply that these books are so good, the children can not get enough of them. By the time a child works their way through thirty books, their reading level is bound to improve.
The Astrosaurs series is based on the idea that the dinosaurs were not really killed when the meteor hit earth. Instead they boarded spaceships and travelled far from their home to colonise new planets. The herbivores are clustered in the Vegetarian Sector while the carnivores have their own section of space. The two groups have occasionally warred and have constant skirmishes. Only the Astrosaurs stand between the Vegetarian Sector and hoards of carnivores. Teggs Stegosaur the Captain of the Sauropod, and is one of the finest Astrosaurs. With his helpful crew, Gypsy Saurine the hadrosaur, Iggy Tooth the Iguanodon, Arx Orano the triceratops, and 50 dimorphodon Teggs keeps the Vegetarian Sector safe for the plant eaters.
All of these books have a lot in common. They are full of boy-friendly humour, including an abundance of toilet humour as well as being packed with action. The dinosaurs use dung as both their primary fuel and weapon, so while their are plenty of battles, none of them result in actual bloodshed. The stories are well written, and encourage kindness, even to enemies. While the series does seem to be aimed at boys, there is plenty for girls here too, with Gypsy Saurine being a very strong female character, who can hold her own in any battle and is well versed in martial arts. The books are all illustrated, and while the pictures are a very simple black and white, they are quite funny and add quite a bit to the enjoyment of the books.
Astrosaurs; The Castle of Frankensaur is the latest in this series. It all begins when the Astrosaurs get a distress call from a star vault , the Astrosaur equivalent of an armoured car which has been hijacked. They rescue the captain of the star vault and pursue a two headed carnivore thief to what looks like a barren asteroid. But this asteroid is not completely uninhabited. There is a dark and spooky looking castle with a single living occupant - Dr Frankensaur and his robot companion and guard, IGOR. Dr Frankensaur has created a marvellous new invention : the MATTA : Mix and Transmit Transmorgifying Area. This device is meant to make hybrid vegetables that will make hunger a thing of the past - but could there be a connection between the strange two headed hijacker and this machine that combines living organisms? Dr Frankesaur was a well respected scientist b ut things are about to get stranger, can they trust the good doctor or his overly zealous robot guard? Can they solve the mystery of The Castle of Frankensaur - or will they fall victim to the strange forces on the asteroid themselves?
This book has everything a boy could want, dinosaurs, poo torpedoes, mutant monsters a dangerous robot and a very strange if not mad scientist. My sons especially loved the two headed crook, as the two heads were continually bickering with each other, and one was incredibly dim-witted, much to the annoyance of the other. The ending was perfect as well.
It is not necessary to read these in any particular order, so we have been working our way through the series with the children choosing which topic looks the most fun. My son chose this one due to an interest in monsters such as Frankenstein, and this was the perfect combination of spooky but silly beasts and the heroic dinosaurs.To date we have finished about twenty of these books and loved every one. Although this series is intended for children to read on their own from ages 7+, I think this is a perfect series to keep younger children interested in books as well, and would highly recommend this for reading aloud as well for independent readers. My son enjoys reading some picture books over and over, but he also longs for something new, and Astrosaurs provide a wonderful series to read aloud from night after night. This is a really fun series to read aloud, as well as being perfect for young children beginning to move into chapter books. If you have a child who likes dinosaurs, whether they are very young or up to age 10, I would encourage you to give these a try. However, as much as we love them, I can't see them appealing to a child much older than age 10. If your child is a bit older, I would suggest Steve Cole's series for older children instead : Z-Rex (Z Rex Trilogy) by Steve Cole.
If this book appeals then we can recommend Magic Ink also by Steve Cole. as well as Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Nelson Forss.
You can read more book reviews or buy Astrosaurs 22: The Castle of Frankensaur by Steve Cole at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Astrosaurs 22: The Castle of Frankensaur by Steve Cole at Amazon.com.
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