Those lovable and fiercely loyal dinosaur robots are back in the second book of the Dinotek Adventure series by author N.S. Blackman. When we left the Dinoteks at the end of Book 1, the reader was left with a cliffhanger as the mayor, in cahoots with the sinister businessman Howard H. Snickenbacker, and the bumbling museum manager, Oliver Grubbler plot to melt the Dinoteks down into scrap metal. But to do so, they must get through the young hero, Marlin Maxton who, along with the help of his Uncle Gus, will fiercely defend and protect his new friends: Protos the Centrosaurus, Flame the T-Rex, Steg the Stegosaurus, as well as the other Dinoteks. And the chase is on!
All of the things we loved about Book 1 (fast past, great characters, dinosaurs, dinosaur robots, fast past, great adventure, sinister villains) all hold true for Book 2. The second book in the series picks off (literally) where Book 1 leaves off. The Dinoteks are in danger when Howard H. Snickenbacker sends an artillery of construction and demolition vehicles to the museum in order to capture the Dinoteks.
While Book 1 was focused on introducing the characters (both human and dinosaur robot alike), Book 2 is all about the action, with Snickenbacker, Grubbler and the mayor intent on capturing the Dinoteks. This book is designed to hold the reader’s attention, be it an adult reading it out loud to a child or a child reading it to themselves. The action in this book is non-stop from the first page to the last and is sure to keep children’s attention glued to the storyline which features a great chase taking the Dinoteks into the bowels of the museum, across the streets of the city, through the countryside, and finally on a bumpy train ride all with Snickenbacker hot on their heels.
While this fun early chapter book features important lessons about friendship and loyalty, I really appreciated the addition of the three golden rules that the Dinoteks must follow:
1. We must always look after each other.
2. We must never hurt anybody.
3. If somebody needs help we should always try to help them.
These are important lessons for any child to be taught and interestingly, these come to play in the story as Flame the T-Rex must follow these rules.
Book 2 features simple illustrations created by the author himself. I remember my son complaining that there should be more illustrations in the book. It does seem like Book 2 may have more illustrations (perhaps 2 or 3 per chapter) compared to Book 1 (which had roughly 1 or 2 per chapter). I think for emerging readers, it is particularly important to include many illustrations as it gives their eyes a break from reading line after line with no break.
I do have one piece of feedback for the author from the perspective of an adult who read the book aloud to my children. There are many changes in perspective throughout the story from the Dinoteks, to Marlin, to the inspector, to Grubbler, to Snickenbacker, etc. These do not translate as easily when you are reading out loud. When there was a change in perspective, my daughter would interrupt my reading and say, “What is going on?” I began warning her of changes in perspective before I continued reading. While changes in perspective may be a great way to keep a child’s interest in a story when they are reading it to themselves, it did not go over as well when I was reading it aloud.
My Bottom Line:
The Secret Dinosaur: Hunters Attack! (The Dinotek Adventures, Book #2) is a fast paced, non-stop action thriller certain to keep newly independent or reluctant readers fully engaged with the engaging plot. Book 2 succeeds in developing the characters more fully including Marlin and each of the Dinoteks. I loved to cheer on the good guys and jeer at the bad guys who were deliciously villainous. I highly recommend all of the Dinotek Adventurebooks to independent readers or as a read-aloud story that will keep the audience’s attention from the first page to the last. Ages 6 to 10.