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|Dactyl Hill Squad|
Author: Older, Daniel Jose
It is the summer of 1863, and as the Civil War rages between dinosaur-mounted armies down south, and a tense New York City seems on the brink of exploding into riots, Magdalys Roca and the other children at the Colored Orphan Asylum are trying to survive; but when she receives a letter telling her that her brother Montez was wounded, Magdalys knows that somehow she must reach him--and just possibly her ability to communicate telepathically with dinosaurs may come in handy.
Dactyl Hill Squad, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 198166
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 75675
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (00/08/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (M) (00/09/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2018 Magdalys lives in the Colored Orphan Asylum in 1863 Manhattan, in an alternate history where dinosaurs are as common as birds and as useful as horses. When the orphanage is destroyed, she and her peers (along with a few grown-ups) are thrust into the dark world of fugitive slave kidnapping and work together to stop a corrupt magistrate and the shadowy Golden Circle. Older’s rousing mix of actual history and dinosaurs will be irresistible to the upper-elementary and middle-school crowds. Situated in the midst of the Civil War, the story has action and fight scenes aplenty, and Older touches on serious subjects like government corruption, fugitive slaves, and Magdalys’ magical ability to communicate with dinos.? Magdalys is a stalwart hero, never wavering in her quest to save her friends. The unresolved story line about one of her slightly older siblings is a convenient indicator that the Dactyl Hill dino-riding team will return for more adventures. Endnotes separate fact from fiction and add details about the dinosaurs, weapons, and limited slang used in the book. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2018 Gr 4–7—This epic, alt-history fantasy, set during the U.S. Civil War in July 1863, opens with a disgruntled Magdalys Roca, angry that the Colored Orphan Asylum matron demands she answer to the name Margaret Rocheford. Her immediate dilemma: Should she continue to resist the woman and miss the all-black cast performing a Shakespearean show, or should she attend with the rest of her friends? This is readers' first glimpse of the brave Afro-Cuban protagonist who lives in a dinosaur-filled world, where living in the North does not assure safety due to a booming international slave trade with the South. Unable to resist the lure of the show, Magdalys rushes to join the group, suddenly discovering a new power: the ability to communicate telepathically with the dinosaur pulling the wagon. This skill, combined with quick thinking, help her save several of the children when the theater and orphanage burn down, and to ensure they escape to the safe haven of Brooklyn. The children immediately become involved with the Vigilance Committee, serving as spies and watching Manhattan Kidnapping Club members who supply the slave trade. This first book in a series takes place within a few action-packed days, ending as the Squad prepares to leave on new mission to locate Magdalys's older brother, a Union soldier wounded in dangerous New Orleans. VERDICT This high-energy title is perfect for middle graders, with its strong female protagonist, a fresh perspective on history, helpful notes and resources, and an honest portrayal of the complex topics of race and gender.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.