Dinosaur Cove: Attack of the Tyranosaurus (US)When looking for a beginning chapter book to read at bedtime, I first turned to Roald Dahl. Many of Dahl’s shorter books have pictures on nearly every page, which can keep those who are used to picture books fully engaged. Unfortunately, Dahl only has a finite number of books, so I eventually needed to look elsewhere. I didn’t think we were quite ready for the subject matter of The Magic Tree House quite yet (although I may have simply been underestimating my offspring’s ability to digest and enjoy those books). That’s when I stumbled upon the Dinosaur Cove series, which was pretty perfect. Nearly all of the pages had some type of picture, and the central topic was one of the top three of every male child in post-historic civilization: dinosaurs (the other two being super-heroes and astronauts).

Dinosaur Cove is rated Renew It Again & Again!

In this series, Jamie moves to Dinosaur Cove with his father – there is no mention of the mother, in fact, through eight books, I’m not sure a female human being has uttered a word. Regardless, Jamie meets a local boy name Tom. You can differentiate between them in the illustrations because Tom has red hair and freckles, and Jamie does not – although the red hair only applies to the covers, as the pictures within the book are black and white. But again, I digress. The two boys discover a secret cave with some dinosaur footprints, and when they step in the dinosaur footprints, then can walk through a wall into the past … where dinosaurs really exist.

They quickly meet a wannanosaurus (who they name … Wanna), and they explore the world. In each book, they meet up with Wanna and encounter a new dinosaur and a new predicament. Each book is about 65 pages, and has precisely 6 chapters.

The series is written by Rex Stone … aka an unknown author whom the publishing company contracted to write a particular installment of the series. This is similar to how the Rainbow Magic Fairy series is not actually written by a lady named Daisy Meadows. Illustrator Mike Spoor, apparently is a real person.

In the United States, there are nine books in the series. However, it appears that this was originally a British series (published by Oxford University Press). The titles of the nine books are all different (see both versions of #5 below), and to top it off, according to Oxford Press, there are 24 books in the series, plus 3 more double length adventures.

Dinosaur Cove: Catching the Velociraptor (US)

Because I can’t find a very good list online detailing the series, I’m going to throw one down here:

Late Cretaceous Period

  1. Attack of the Tyrannosaurus (US) / Attack of the Lizard King (UK)
  2. Charge of the Triceratops (US) / Charge of the Three-Horned Monster (UK)
  3. March of the Ankylosaurus (US) / March of the Armoured Beasts (UK)
  4. Flight of the Quetzalcoatlus (US) / Flight of the Winged Serpent (UK)
  5. Catching the Velociraptor (US) / Catching the Speedy Thief (UK)
  6. Stampede of the Edmontosaurus (US) / Stampede of the Giant Reptiles (UK)

 Jurassic Period

  1. Saving the Stegosaurus (US) / Rescuing the Plated Lizard (UK)
  2. Swimming with the Plesiosaur (US) / Swimming with the Sea Monster (UK)
  3. Tracking the Diplodocus (US) / Tracking the Gigantic Beast (UK)
  4. Escape from the Fierce Predator (UK)
  5. Finding the Deceptive Dinosaur (UK)
  6. Assault of the Friendly Fiends (UK)

Triassic Period

  1. Chasing the Tunnelling Trickster (UK)Dinosaur Cove: Journey to the Ice Age (UK)
  2. Clash of the Monster Crocs (UK)
  3. Rampage of the Hungry Giants (UK)
  4. Haunting of the Ghost Runners (UK)
  5. Swarm of the Fanged Lizards (UK)
  6. Snatched by the Dawn Thief (UK)

Permian Period

  1. Stalking the Fanned Predator (UK)
  2. Shadowing the Wolf-Face Reptiles (UK)
  3. Saving the Scaly Beast (UK)
  4. Taming the Battling Brutes (UK)
  5. Snorkeling with the Saw Shark (UK)
  6. Hunted by the Insect Army (UK)

Double Length Adventures

  1. Journey to the Ice Age (UK)
  2. Lost in the Jurassic (UK)
  3. The Cretaceous Chase (UK)

Generally, the writing is nothing to write home about, and the action is pretty safe – you never really feel like Jamie and Tom are in any real danger. Educationally and scientifically, I have no idea how accurate the books are. They could be very well researched, or the facts could be mostly bogus – I’m no expert. There is an actual place called Dinosaur Cove, which happens to be a fossil-bearing site in south-east Australia (fact). I am not certain if there is actually a cave which will allow you to travel back in time to the cretaceous period (fiction?).

Either way, the human saplings tend to like the series, and my only qualm is that my American library only carries the first 9 books (the ones published by Scholastic).

One last nice thing about the series, is that you can pretty much pick up any of the books in any order and read them without missing a beat. The running story lines are minimal and usually don’t really matter to the plot of the individual book, so you could probably grab any one and it wouldn’t matter. Of course, I’m a bit of a stickler and like reading things in order and to completion, so I never have tried that.

I can tell you from experience, that it’s super cute to hear a four-year old correctly pronounce Quetzalcoatlus (KET-zal-koh-AT-lus) … and correct me when I say it wrong.

Book Information:

  • Reading Level: Grade 2-3
  • Interest: Age 4-9
  • Pages: ~65 per book
  • Pictures: Many per chapter (on almost every 2 page spread)
  • Main Characters: 2 boys, 1 wannanosaurus
  • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Science, History