The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman

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The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: This is a super-fun adventure introducing Dinoteks - mechanised dinosaurs brought to life by a little boy called Marlin. First in an episodic series, it's action-packed and exciting and will be sure to gather fans. N S Blackman popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 94 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Dinosaur Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780992752569

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When Marlin Maxton goes on a school visit to the local museum, he is looking forward to seeing Protos - the dinosaur that his Uncle Gus remembers so fondly. But Protos is nowhere to be seen and the museum's Mr Grubbler seems to be doing his utmost to take all the fun out of the school visit Marlin had been anticipating with such excitement. So Marlin sneaks off to explore by himself...

... and in a dusty old room, he finds what he's looking for - a treasure trove of mechanical dinosaurs. After a bit of fiddling, he gets Protos to come to life for a few minutes. Enthused by this discovery, he enlists the help of Uncle Gus to bring all the rest to life. But can they manage it before the horrid Mr Grubbler sells the Dinoteks for scrap? It's going to take some doing!

The Secret Dinosaur will suit readers aged from 6 to about 10, depending on their level of reading. It'll be great for the newly emerging reader at the lower end and equally great for the reluctant reader at the upper end. There's plenty of action and a nice sprinkling of humour, and the sentences are short, sharp and to the point whilst also doing a little bit of vocabulary extending. The illustrations are lively and interesting, adding flavour without overwhelming the text. Reading The Secret Dinosaur feels like reading a "proper" book, so it'll be fine for children ready to read alone but there's a nice rhythm to the text that will also suit reading aloud at bedtime.

I will add my usual caveat for books that end on a cliffhanger. They don't suit everyone. So do be aware that The Secret Dinosaur isn't a standalone story and there isn't much in the way of a plot resolution, even for this episode. So be ready to look out book two in the series!

Most children like dinosaurs and I think most children will also like the blend of artificial intelligence and ancient creature that combine to create the Dinoteks. This is a fun and engaging world that Blackman has created and the books are a great fit for the target audience - straightforward, energetic, and imaginative. The hero is funny and courageous and resourceful and readers will easily identify with him. Mr Grubbler, the bad guy curator is suitably evil but not too threatening.

There really is nothing to not like and so The Secret Dinosaur comes with a hearty Bookbag recommendation. You can find out more about the series at its very own website.

Dino-freaks might also like some non-fiction about dinosaurs to look at and If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon is a good choice. Younger children will enjoy sharing Dinosaurs in the Supermarket by Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton with you.

Buy The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman at

Buy The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Dinosaur: Giants Awake by N S Blackman at

Bookinterviews.jpg N S Blackman was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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