Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman Oakes
Title: Dinosaur Boy
Author: Cory Putman Oakes
Published: 3rd February 2015
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Length: 224 pages
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Fifth grade is tough. Fifth grade with a dinosaur tail and razor-sharp spikes is tougher.
Like every kid who has seen the government-issued public safety video, Sawyer knows that many years ago, Amalgam Labs accidentally transmitted dinosaur DNA to some of its scientists. The result of the accident was dinosaur/human hybrids, so it’s not a complete surprise to him when he starts to change the summer before fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus.
Despite the new principal’s zero tolerance policy on bullying, the school’s bullies are on Sawyer like a pack of Jurassic-era predators the minute they see his stegosaurus tail. Befriended only by Elliot a.k.a. “Gigantor,” and the weird new girl, Sawyer does his best to fend for himself.
When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is initially relieved, until he discovers a secret about the principal that’s more shocking than Dino DNA. The missing bullies are in for a galactically horrible fate…and it’s up to Sawyer and his friends to rescue them.
In this wacky and whimsical middle-grade series debut, Texas Book Award finalist Cory Putman Oakes masterfully explores the issues of bullying and tolerance, and celebrates the value of diversity in a quirky and clever way that will both educate and entertain readers.
“A wild and wacky adventure…with enough twists and turns to rival a roller coaster, Dinosaur Boy is sure to appeal to wonderfully weird kids of every shape and size.” —Kelly Milner Halls, award-winning author of In Search of Sasquatch
“With issues like bullying, not fitting in, and heroism…it’s Wonder with dinosaurs and is sure to touch your heart.” —P. J. Hoover, author of Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life
“An entertaining barrel ride past sheaves of middle-grade themes from bullying to racial identity.” – Kirkus
“Credible characters and real-life issues like bullying, appreciating differences, and being true to oneself keep Oakes’s (The Veil) series kickoff grounded…Oakes draws on everything from the dubiousness of zero-tolerance bullying policies (especially when they’re being used to ship students to Jupiter) to the importance of tolerance and the injustice of discrimination to create a story with unexpected depth.” –Publishers Weekly
Dinosaur Boy is a charming tale that deals with the issue most kids face with bullying. With a fantastic cast of truly diverse characters, sprinklings of humour, and a twist that’s out of this world, kids will love this book.
Sawyer, like most kids, has grown over the summer. Only, he hasn’t gotten taller, he’s grown a new tail and plates down his bag. Sawyer is part-dinosaur – stegosaurus to be exact – just like his grandfather, who’s a scientist for Amalgam Labs. After an accident in the Labs, some two hundred scientists were given dinosaur DNA and turned into human-dinosaur hybrids. Now Sawyer has inherited that gene and has to deal with the new attention from his classmates.
The new principal – Principal Mathias – has a zero tolerance policy on bullying, and when Sawyer’s bullies are immediately expelled, Sawyer doesn’t think anything more of it. Until the friend of one of the expelled boys tells him that they haven’t been seen since.
Along with his best friend, Elliot (a normal, human kid), and the new girl, Sylvie (who has some secrets of her own), Sawyer tries to find out what exactly happened to the kids.
I loved this story, it was a really great read with some interesting twists in there that I’m sure kids will enjoy. It teaches a great message about tolerance and acceptance as well. A fantastic story and a quick read. One to keep an eye out for!
About the Author
Cory Putman Oakes was born in Switzerland and grew up in California. She graduated from UCLA and Cornell Law. Since then, she’s been an associate at a big law firm, taught at Texas State University, and written several books. Cory lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter.