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(Dinosaur Boy #1)
by Cory Putman Oakes
Feb. 3, 2015
Sometimes being different is good...even if it means having a tail and spikes
Everyone knows the dinosaur gene skips a generation. So it wasn't a complete surprise when Sawyer sprouted a tail and spikes before he started fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus.
Despite Principal Mathis's Zero Tolerance Policy, Sawyer is a bully magnet, befriended only by BFF Elliot and the weird new girl. When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is relieved-until he discovers a secret about the principal that's more shocking than Dino DNA. Now it's up to the unlikely trio to rescue their tormentors from a galactically horrible fate.
Praise for Dinosaur Boy
“A fun mix of school drama, science fiction, and humor, the story explores the daily hassles of living as part dinosaur, along with the real pain of bullying. First in a planned series, it should find a wide audience.” – Booklist
“DINOSAUR BOY is a delightfully zany and terrifically fun story” – Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine and Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn
“[A] series debut with more twists than a strand of DNA” and “[a]n entertaining barrel ride past sheaves of middle-grade themes from bullying to racial identity.” – Kirkus Reviews
(Dinosaur Boy #2)
by Cory Putman Oakes
Feb. 1, 2016
Dinosaurs, Martians, and mystery, oh my! Fans of Michael Buckley's NERDS and Dan Gutman's Genius Files will love this hilarious, action-packed adventure series. What would life be like if you were part dinosaur?
When you're part Stegosaurus life can be a little crazy. (Yes, sleeping with plates is weird. No, dino-human hybrids do not have second brains in their butts.) But Sawyer's life is normal(ish) -- until he's yanked aboard a UFO and sent on a mission to Mars.
Sawyer, Elliot and Sylvie travel to Mars to find her missing father, but they find even bigger trouble. Mars is trying to kick Pluto out of the solar system. And the fate of both planets will be decided by the upcoming Pluto VS Mars soccer match. Of course.
It's an intergalactic mess, and only Sawyer can save Mars, defend Pluto and protect the galaxy...
HOW TO SURVIVE A MIDDLE GRADE SCI-FI NOVEL
(In 10 Easy Steps)
So, you’ve discovered that you’re the main character in a middle grade science fiction novel? Congratulations! You must be a highly relatable ten-to-thirteen-year-old with a fascinating backstory and latent heroic tendencies! You’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. And if you follow the guidelines below, you might even get out of it alive:
- Don’t Sweat Your Personal Problem: You will most likely begin your book with some sort of Personal Problem. Don’t stress too much about this. Your Personal Problem will work itself out once you’ve solved the Actual Problem in your book. And don’t worry if you don’t know what the Actual Problem is yet—your Author will start to get into that by the end of Chapter 3 (or thereabouts).
- Choose Your Friends Wisely: As you prepare to face the Actual Problem in your book, you will be allowed to take some friends with you. Probably two of them—one of your gender, and one not. Select them with care because they will be your companions and main source of help over the course of the book. They will not get along with one another but don’t worry, they’re not supposed to.
- Practice Your Special Skills: If you begin your story with any Special Skills (or if you acquire a Special Skill during the course of the book), rest assured that your ability to perform this Skill under pressure and in slightly unfair circumstances will be crucial to the outcome of the story. So practice, practice practice!
- Find Your One Adult Ally: Your Author will most likely provide you with One Adult Ally who will give you useful advice and help when you need it. It’s important to identify this person early on because every other adult in the book is either actively plotting against you, or is only there to lead you lovingly astray.
- Don’t Worry About the Technology: Not very tech savvy? No problem. Technological know-how is not a prerequisite for a Middle Grade Sci Fi Main Character. In fact, your Author is sure to provide you with a Random Expository Adult or a Knowledgeable Friend who will acquaint you with the basics of your spaceship/time-machine/genetics-experiment-gone-wrong. Listen to this character. They are never wrong about anything.
- Keep Objects of Significance: If anybody gives you anything, especially if it seems like they’re doing it for no reason and the Object they’re giving you seems like the least likely thing in the world to ever help you, hold onto it. Trust me. You’ll need it later.
- Value Advice: Similar to Objects of Significance, if anybody offers you any Advice (particularly if they are a mysterious sort of person or only in the story for a short period of time), be sure to remember it. Because later on that Advice will turn out to be either The Key to Everything or The Exact Wrong Thing To Do, depending on how your Author decides to play it. Either way, it’ll be important. Your Author can’t afford to waste word count on irrelevant dialogue.
- A Word About Your Parents: Middle grade novels are exceptionally dangerous places for parents or parent-like figures (such as legal guardians, grandparents, etc). If yours are not dead or missing at the beginning of the story, it’s still highly likely that something concerning will happen to them over the course of the book. Take whatever precautions you feel are necessary, but be aware that the actions you take to protect them will probably end up being the thing that puts them in danger in the first place. Especially if this is a sequel.
- Look Out For Excessive Character Build-Up: Beware any character who is described in too much detail before you actually meet them. Your Author is doing this to throw you off. When you actually meet this Character (and you will) they will be nothing like they were described. If you were counting on this character to Save You or Have the Answer You Seek, forget it. You’re far more likely to end up saving them.
- Let The Inevitable Fight Happen: You and your two chosen friends will have a serious Difference of Opinion at some point in the story. Don’t worry, this is normal. The key to resolving this dispute will also turn out to be the key to solving the Actual Problem (which, as we’ve already discussed, will also take care of your Personal Problem). It’ll all fall into place in the end as long as you go with it.
Best of luck on your upcoming adventure! I’m sure you’ll do great. And if, at any point, you start to lose heart, remember this: your Author is always rooting for you!
Now go save the galaxy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cory Putman Oakes is the author of DINOSAUR BOY and DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS, both out now from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. She lives in Austin, Texas and has spent her entire life preparing for her own fantasy/science fiction adventure story to begin. Until it does, she’ll continue to write other people’s stories. website * facebook * twitter
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