Dinosaur Boy

Cory Putman Oakes. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $12.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4926-0537-9
A boy-dinosaur hybrid, a girl who’s part alien, and a new principal’s plot to sell misbehaving students to a pet store on Jupiter sound like the ingredients for an intergalactic romp. Yet credible characters and real-life issues like bullying, appreciating differences, and being true to oneself keep Oakes’s (The Veil) series kickoff grounded. The summer before fifth grade, Sawyer sprouts bony plates and a spiky tail. He isn’t thrilled, but neither is he surprised: “After all, my grandfather had been part stegosaurus,” he explains. “And everybody knows that dinosaur skips a generation.” The thought of starting school with reptilian appendages (his mother sticks tennis balls on his tail spikes to prevent injuries to others) fills Sawyer with dread, and with good reason: class meanie Allan and others torment Sawyer mercilessly. The premise is inherently hyperbolic, but 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. Ages 9–12. Agent: Sarah LaPolla, Bradford Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/03/2015
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 223 pages - 978-1-4926-0539-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4926-0538-6
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4926-3447-8
Prebound-Glued - 240 pages - 978-0-606-38280-9
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