The Dino Files #1: A Mysterious Egg
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Mike Boldt
Published: January 19, 2016 by Random House Kids
Summary: What if a fossil in your backyard . . . came to life?!
Frank’s grandma is a famous paleontologist (that’s a dinosaur scientist). But she’s also an adult who makes up rules. Rules like: no digging for dinosaur bones when you have a sunburn. That means Frank is stuck playing inside with his annoying cousin, Samantha. But then Grandma finds a fossil of an egg! And when Frank and Sam sneak into the dino lab late at night, they find something even more amazing. . . .
The hilarious Dino Files chapter book series follows a nine-year-old dinosaur expert, his paleontologist grandparents, a cat named Saurus, and fossils that might not be so extinct!
About the Author: Stacy McAnulty is the author of several children’s books including Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; The Dino Files series, illustrated by Mike Boldt; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Stacy grew up outside of Albany, New York and received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University at Buffalo. A career opportunity brought her to central North Carolina in 1998. She currently lives in Kernersville, NC with her husband, their three children and two dogs.
Also, Stacy offers FREE Skype interviews and signed bookmarks to any class reading The Dino Files!
Ricki’s Review: This is a hilariously fun series that is sure to be a hit in classrooms. I see it working best in grades 1-4. As a child, I was disappointed when my chapter books no longer had pictures, and this book is a great transitional book because it has the best of both worlds—a great story and pictures to go along with it! Frank reminds me of many kids. He is frustrated by all of the rules set out for him, and he just wants to have fun. He manages to sneak around a bit and something awesome happens with that dinosaur egg (I’ll let you guess)! I also want to put in a plug for the fact that Frank is a cat lover. My son loves cats, and I hate how books/shows always feature males as dog lovers and females as cat lovers. I loved Saurus the cat!
Kellee’s Review: I plowed through this and the sequel because I loved the premise and the characters so much! I love that Frank and Sam represent such different types of kids within each of them and between each of them; I think so many readers will relate to their personalities. I also really liked how dinosaurs are introduced throughout the book without making the book didactical in any way. Instead it is educational and funny! This series is a wonderful introduction to early chapter books also because it is very engaging and will appeal to all kinds of readers.
Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book is a great jump start to researching about dinosaurs! I know a lot of early elementary schools have a big dinosaur unit, and I think this book would appeal to readers of all ages. The book might also work well for a fossil unit, too! It would be interesting to investigate whether it would be possible to hatch a fossilized dino egg. Then, the class could have a discussion about whether this book might be considered realistic fiction or fantasy. Further activities and information is available at: www.thedinofiles.com.
Discussion Questions: What good choices does Frank make? What bad choices does he make? What are the outcomes of his choices?; What words would you use to describe Frank? How is he different or similar to you?; What rules is Frank forced to follow? Do you think these rules are fair?; How do the illustrations enhance your reading experience?
Flagged Passage: “I need to be at that dig site! Instead, I’m stuck inside the museum with PopPop. The good thing is I got my own name tag. Finally.”
Read This If You Loved: Dinosaur Cove by Rex Stone; Dinosaur Trouble by Dick King Smith; Dinosaur Pox by Jeremy Strong
**Thank you to Stacy for providing copies for review!!**