Dactyl Hill Squad
It's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community--a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it's too late?

Dactyl Hill Squad Details

TitleDactyl Hill Squad
Author
ReleaseSep 11th, 2018
PublisherArthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-139781338268812
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Dactyl Hill Squad Review

  • Rebecca Roanhorse
    January 1, 1970
    So much fun. A cleaver and entertaining way to introduce real historical events (think Draft Riots and Gangs of New York) to middle grade readers. A mix of historical and contemporary slang keeps the prose fresh and appealing to contemporary readers. Older really upped his game. This is great stuff!
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  • Adriana (SaltyBadgerBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    My review is based on the ARC which was actually given to me by a friend.I loved it! As of this moment it is my favorite middle grade of the year! I really liked that he gave us something fun and educational. I know the lingo is accurate (but he does explain that in the informational section) but it makes sense why he does it!I like that he came up with mini-dactyls and well just mini dinosaurs in general. And that he came up with shorthanded names for these dinosaurs as if they did evolve with My review is based on the ARC which was actually given to me by a friend.I loved it! As of this moment it is my favorite middle grade of the year! I really liked that he gave us something fun and educational. I know the lingo is accurate (but he does explain that in the informational section) but it makes sense why he does it!I like that he came up with mini-dactyls and well just mini dinosaurs in general. And that he came up with shorthanded names for these dinosaurs as if they did evolve with us. He touched on real issues that were happening in that day and age, and made a bunch of kids heroes!I thought this book was extremely fun. And deserves all the attention a middle grade book can get! I will definitely be purchasing a finisher copy! As the ARC doesn't have the illustrations!
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  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not giving this a rating because I am in two very different minds about it. Part of me is all "Yay! Five stars! Historical adventure with a smart, brave girl of color—nay, an entire cast of characters of color— and dinosaurs! Plus, it very sneakily teaches really important history lessons about the North during the Civil War. And dinosaurs!" And the other part of me was all "Two stars because the science just doesn't make sense. I'm not even a scientist and I know that. I mean, if dinosaurs I'm not giving this a rating because I am in two very different minds about it. Part of me is all "Yay! Five stars! Historical adventure with a smart, brave girl of color—nay, an entire cast of characters of color— and dinosaurs! Plus, it very sneakily teaches really important history lessons about the North during the Civil War. And dinosaurs!" And the other part of me was all "Two stars because the science just doesn't make sense. I'm not even a scientist and I know that. I mean, if dinosaurs survived into the 19th Century, that would have had a tremendous impact on the path of evolution for other species. If humans had evolved at all, they would have probably done so very differently and there's a good possibility that things like Shakespeare and the Civil War wouldn't even have happened. I just...the SCIENCE."So, yeah. My inner ten-year-old loved it to pieces. My grown-up brain had serious issues with the world-building. Make of that what you will.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Different with a capital D and super fun! Kids are going to eat this series up. Civil War in an alternate America with all the action in this volume in New York City. Dinosaurs are domesticated in this world and our orphaned heroine has a telepathic link to them that enables her to direct their actions and win their loyalty. Issues of race, class and prejudice are threaded through the story and well integrated. The dinosaur battle scenes are wildly entertaining and the villains completely despic Different with a capital D and super fun! Kids are going to eat this series up. Civil War in an alternate America with all the action in this volume in New York City. Dinosaurs are domesticated in this world and our orphaned heroine has a telepathic link to them that enables her to direct their actions and win their loyalty. Issues of race, class and prejudice are threaded through the story and well integrated. The dinosaur battle scenes are wildly entertaining and the villains completely despicable!A satisfying conclusion here but the ending also leads right into the next installment.Back matter includes information on dinosaur species and notes on weapons and "words" including the use of modern language with period slang defined.Lots of fun!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction with dinosaurs? The combination just barely works (IMVHO) - the history occasionally got short-shrifted because the dinosaur part needed to be worked in. Luckily there are author's notes about the Draft Riots, the Colored Orphan Asylum, the period slang and dinorsaurs to help fill in blanks and point readers to additional information.ARC provided by publisher.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    Release date - September 11, 2018I was drawn to this book by the unique premise. Dinosaurs and humans coexist, and both the North and the South are using dinosaurs in the Civil War. They are used in place of horses, to deliver mail and to fight or attack. The main character Magdalys (Mags for short) is an orphan who discovers she can communicate with the dinosaurs, and becomes involved with the war effort. When I read that she could communicate with the dinosaurs, I was imagining that the book w Release date - September 11, 2018I was drawn to this book by the unique premise. Dinosaurs and humans coexist, and both the North and the South are using dinosaurs in the Civil War. They are used in place of horses, to deliver mail and to fight or attack. The main character Magdalys (Mags for short) is an orphan who discovers she can communicate with the dinosaurs, and becomes involved with the war effort. When I read that she could communicate with the dinosaurs, I was imagining that the book would have a bit of Eragon-and-Saphira vibe to it, where the dinosaurs talk to Mags, but in actuality, it’s more that Mags can sense their feelings and emotions. I was hoping for more of a friendship between the two species, but that wasn’t really the case. I liked Mags, and admired her desire to find her brother and her other siblings to reunite her family. I wish the book had done more with the historical aspect. I did enjoy the notes at the back, but there were only a couple of passing references to famous Civil War battles. I would have liked a little more history, but that’s my personal preference. I had trouble keeping track of all the orphans, since they were all introduced at roughly the same time, and they used nicknames and their real names. I loved Miss Josephine and wished she were in the story more. Her sass was great!It also teaches a lesson about race without being obvious. Overall, this was cute, and I’d probably give it 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.
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  • Joy Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this combination of alternate history and fantasy. I found the premise especially interesting because back in school I researched and wrote a paper on the Civil War draft riots in NYC and the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum. Some of the events, places, and people are based on reality--including black theater and the main villain--and some are fiction, including the dinosaurs. Sounds like lots of research on the different kinds of dinosaurs and their temperaments though! The charac I enjoyed this combination of alternate history and fantasy. I found the premise especially interesting because back in school I researched and wrote a paper on the Civil War draft riots in NYC and the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum. Some of the events, places, and people are based on reality--including black theater and the main villain--and some are fiction, including the dinosaurs. Sounds like lots of research on the different kinds of dinosaurs and their temperaments though! The characters--the orphans and others--are interesting, and you get caught up in their every day lives--and the danger. Magdalys, our heroine, has the gift of communicating with the dinosaurs, and the courage to use that gift and fly to the rescue of her friends when necessary. Yes, this is an exciting ride. And be sure to read the author's notes about the history and the real people too.
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  • Dayna
    January 1, 1970
    I wish this book had existed when I was a kid, who loved both sci fi and historical fiction. (I also wish there were grown-up books with this concept!) Basically, dinosaurs are alive and well during the US Civil War, and are used for carriages, mail, war, and more; and some people have empathic/telepathic connections with them. Set during the July 1863 draft riots in New York City, it follows Magdalys and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum as they deal with the aftermath of the riots and I wish this book had existed when I was a kid, who loved both sci fi and historical fiction. (I also wish there were grown-up books with this concept!) Basically, dinosaurs are alive and well during the US Civil War, and are used for carriages, mail, war, and more; and some people have empathic/telepathic connections with them. Set during the July 1863 draft riots in New York City, it follows Magdalys and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum as they deal with the aftermath of the riots and their friends being kidnapped to be sold into slavery. It was a fun romp that I think speaks to a wide audience of kids. It’s a complete story but also sets up the possibility for a sequel. My only complaint is that modern language/slang is a bit jarring— funny that I have no issues with suspension of disbelief with dinosaurs being alive, but the slang took me out of the story— but overall, an enjoyable book with a fun concept and diverse representation. Thanks to Scholastic for providing me with an ARC at the American Library Association conference!
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  • Briana
    January 1, 1970
    Initial Thoughts: I loved the premise of this one (dinosaurs during the Civil War era!),but the writing left something to be desired. The pacing was off and things would happen very suddenly, and some things were so outrageous (but not in a good way) that I couldn't believe they actually happened. There's also not as much of a Civil War tie as I really wanted, but that's a personal opinion. I do like the historical notes in the back of the book about both the war and dinosaurs. Finally, the dial Initial Thoughts: I loved the premise of this one (dinosaurs during the Civil War era!),but the writing left something to be desired. The pacing was off and things would happen very suddenly, and some things were so outrageous (but not in a good way) that I couldn't believe they actually happened. There's also not as much of a Civil War tie as I really wanted, but that's a personal opinion. I do like the historical notes in the back of the book about both the war and dinosaurs. Finally, the dialogue is very modern, which is another pet peeve of mine in historical fiction. I don't expect 100% 1860's sounding language, but I can do without characters saying things like "Let's roll up to the building."
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  • Hilary Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow... this book has dinosaurs, the civil war, lost orphans, secret societies and more. It's fun and educational but parents and teachers would be wise to chat with their kids about the material as slavery and racism are major themes. There is also a scene where the orphans find a dead body. Pretty heavy stuff for a middle grade novel but I have no doubt kids can handle it.
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  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    Very fun, solid middle grade.
  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 3.5 StarsAction-packed middle grade adventure that re-imagines Civil-War era New York City with dinosaurs! This is a great blend of real history and dinosaur fantasy that I think a lot of kids are going to love. There are even detailed notes at the end of the book giving more info about the history and other books to read! Plus we get a young black heroine from Cuba who can talk to dinosaurs with her mind, which is really fantastic. Magdalys is an orphan living in New York's Color Actual Rating: 3.5 StarsAction-packed middle grade adventure that re-imagines Civil-War era New York City with dinosaurs! This is a great blend of real history and dinosaur fantasy that I think a lot of kids are going to love. There are even detailed notes at the end of the book giving more info about the history and other books to read! Plus we get a young black heroine from Cuba who can talk to dinosaurs with her mind, which is really fantastic. Magdalys is an orphan living in New York's Colored Orphan Asylum just as racial tensions are exploding in the city and war rages down south. The Kidnapping Gang has been rounding up black children and adults and selling them into slavery (based on real events) and has captured most of the other orphans from the asylum. She and her friends (the Dactyl Hill Squad) must ride dinosaurs and try to save the other kids before they are shipped away. Reading this as an adult, I found the plot to be fairly predictable (though certainly full of action!). However, I love this as a way of teaching little known history and found the world with dinosaurs to be fun and whimsical. Highly recommend to teachers. This is a little on the violent side for a middle grade novel, although it isn't ever gruesome. There are fight scenes and the kids discover a man they knew who had been lynched, but even those aspects use historical information. Overall, a very cool idea that is perfect for a middle grade audience, but might not be such a great crossover for older teens and adults. I received an ARC for review from the publisher at BEA. All opinions are my own.
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  • LANA
    January 1, 1970
    Who knew I would love this book this much.To be honest, it seemed really random at first; orphans in 1863 running away from the Kidnapping Club on dinosaur back? Yep, I was unsure.But as the book progressed on it just got better and better, and not a lot of authors can pull that off.This book was about Magdalys Roca, an orphan from the Colored Orphan Asylum who is being targeted, among others, by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. As the story wore on I actually got curious and searched who Rich Who knew I would love this book this much.To be honest, it seemed really random at first; orphans in 1863 running away from the Kidnapping Club on dinosaur back? Yep, I was unsure.But as the book progressed on it just got better and better, and not a lot of authors can pull that off.This book was about Magdalys Roca, an orphan from the Colored Orphan Asylum who is being targeted, among others, by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. As the story wore on I actually got curious and searched who Richard Riker was, apparently he was really a magistrate who hated colored people.Everything about this book is gripping. The main character herself is really lovable and sharp. The way Daniel Jose Older interpreted dinosaurs and the civil war was nearly impossible but it all came together in a very creative way that I LOVED.So yeah, did I underestimate it? Yes and I'm ashamed. Is it my new favorite child? Yes, and I regret nothing.I received an ARC from DogoBooks, this has not influenced my opinion.
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  • Mary Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Dactyl Hill Squad is a terrific mix of historical fiction, action-adventure and fantasy--with a strong underlay of social justice themes. Hand this to readers who want high energy books and a critical look at race relations.See my full review here.
  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Magdalys Roca lives at the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York during the year 1863. It is a different world than the one we know, with dinosaurs still roaming the earth. While on a field trip to see a theater performance, riots break out in New York City. Magdalys and her fellow orphans are caught in the situation. As she helps her fellow orphans survive, Magdalys discovers that she has a strange ability to communicate with the dinosaurs around her. Discovering that the orphanage has been destroy Magdalys Roca lives at the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York during the year 1863. It is a different world than the one we know, with dinosaurs still roaming the earth. While on a field trip to see a theater performance, riots break out in New York City. Magdalys and her fellow orphans are caught in the situation. As she helps her fellow orphans survive, Magdalys discovers that she has a strange ability to communicate with the dinosaurs around her. Discovering that the orphanage has been destroyed in the riots, Magdalys and several other orphans are taken in by New York freedom fighters in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood where people of color have created a place of safety. Magdalys and her friends are soon involved in saving the other children from being taken into slavery.Based loosely on real history, this novel has just enough historical reality to keep it grounded. Add in the dinosaurs and you have a wonderful novel of alternative history that will keep children enthralled. The pace is fast and becomes almost wild during fight and battle scenes. The children face real horrors of slavery, including a lynching, mobs of people intent of capturing or killing them, and a network of men working to send free people into bondage. The setting of a historical New York City is deftly woven into the story line as well.It’s not often that you have children’s fantasy books that offer alternative takes on history. It is even more rare that those books have children of color as the main characters in the novel. Magdalys is a great heroine, full of bravery and a sense of purpose as she joins those trying to change the world. She is a natural leader though she views herself as a loner, something that others won’t allow her to be.A rip-roaring read that will have children longing for a dactyl to ride. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
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  • Robert Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Disclosure:Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”About the BookIt's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as Civil War rages between raptor mounted armies down south. Magdalys Roca and her friend Disclosure:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Book
It's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as Civil War rages between raptor mounted armies down south. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Assylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker.
Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community- a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the vigilance committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it's too late?
REVEIW
Riker is head of a Kidnapping squad that sends kids down south, to slavery. So what happens, when he meets Magdalys? Has Riker bitten off more than he can handle this time?
Magdalys and her friends are on the way to the theater on a local field trip when it happens. Whoever thought the draft wars would actually happen? Now they must make it back to the colored children asylum before its to late.
I have to say this book is nicely designed, the cover has a raised design to it. I would definitely recommend this book to all young ages and up. This is a book, I would definitely give to my child.

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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    DACTYL HILL SQUAD was an entertaining historical fantasy. Imagine dinosaurs roaming the land in 1863! This story takes place in New York City. Magdalys Roca lives at the Colored Orphan Asylum. She was brought there with her sisters and brother when she was young. Her sisters were taken away and her brother Montez decided to join the Union Army. He was injured while serving in the African Brigade of the 9th Louisiana Regiment, Mounted Ceratops Division. He has been taken to New Orleans gravely in DACTYL HILL SQUAD was an entertaining historical fantasy. Imagine dinosaurs roaming the land in 1863! This story takes place in New York City. Magdalys Roca lives at the Colored Orphan Asylum. She was brought there with her sisters and brother when she was young. Her sisters were taken away and her brother Montez decided to join the Union Army. He was injured while serving in the African Brigade of the 9th Louisiana Regiment, Mounted Ceratops Division. He has been taken to New Orleans gravely injured. Magdalys is determined to go to him to nurse him back to health.However before she can leave New York, she has to survive the Draft Riots which covered blatant racist attacks on free Blacks in the City. She and her friends just happened to be at a theater performance when the Orphan Asylum was attacked, the custodian lynched, and the orphans grabbed by the Kidnapping Club to be taken South and sold into slavery.The make their way to Brooklyn and Dactyl Hill which is supposed to be a safe place for Blacks and is the headquarters of the Vigilance Committee. The committee recruits the kids to spy on the Kidnapping Club so that they can save the orphans before they are taken down South.Magdalys has a newly discovered talent. She is able to talk with the various kinds of prehistoric creatures. Her talent plays a major role in the resolution of this story. The book was filled with action. Magdalys's friends were all interesting people with their own talents and stories. I liked the combination of real history of New York City and dinosaurs. The notes at the back helped make clear what and who was real and which were inventions of the author's incredible imagination.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    Let's not kid ourselves: we all have regular flashbacks to the days when we were young enough to fantasize about riding dinosaurs into battle, before we learned the physics of necessary wingspans and bone densities and atmospheric pressure and so forth. This brilliant little gem of a junior fiction adventure takes us back to those days, mixes in an alternate history scenario, and lets our little dinosaur-loving hearts loose on such lofty concepts as fighting slavery (with dinosaurs!), fighting c Let's not kid ourselves: we all have regular flashbacks to the days when we were young enough to fantasize about riding dinosaurs into battle, before we learned the physics of necessary wingspans and bone densities and atmospheric pressure and so forth. This brilliant little gem of a junior fiction adventure takes us back to those days, mixes in an alternate history scenario, and lets our little dinosaur-loving hearts loose on such lofty concepts as fighting slavery (with dinosaurs!), fighting child trafficking (with dinosaurs!), and fighting the systemic exploitation of people of color on every level (with dinosaurs!). It features a plucky "found family" group of lovely orphans, adults who behave like decent human beings, and adults who don't. It features dinosaurs (and, more frequently and accurately, dactyls). It has snappy dialogue, a plot that moves, and a hero I believe in. Oh, and it features Miss Josephine Du Monde, WHO I TOTALLY WANT IN MY CORNER.Did I force my library to buy a copy for our collection? YES I DID. Did my coworkers think it was just because I'm nerdy about dinosaurs? YES THEY DID. Were they wrong? YES THEY WERE. This book performs blessed, glorious, much-needed alchemy for young readers.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    A tale of orphans in New York City during the Civil War era, but in a version of the world where dinosaurs are part of daily life, is the focus of Daniel José Older's Dactyl Hill Squad. To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/.While out on a field trip to see a play, Magdalys Roca and some of her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum of Brooklyn find themselves suddenly, and dangerously, in the middle of rioting. After learning that many of A tale of orphans in New York City during the Civil War era, but in a version of the world where dinosaurs are part of daily life, is the focus of Daniel José Older's Dactyl Hill Squad. To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/.While out on a field trip to see a play, Magdalys Roca and some of her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum of Brooklyn find themselves suddenly, and dangerously, in the middle of rioting. After learning that many of the orphans were kidnapped by those who would sell them into slavery, Magdalys and her friends seek a way to rescue them and do so with the assistance of the group of people, called the Vigilance Committee, who took them in within the safe community of Dactyl Hill. Training to fly on dactylback and learning more about a variety of lesser encountered dinosaurs that'll be incredibly helpful, the group comes up with a plan to take down the magistrate helping to orchestrate the grandiose human trafficking within New York.Through a quickly paced story and with an entertaining method of including dinosaurs as part of the world, the narrative cleverly introduces middle grade readers to rather large concepts and historical events with rippling repercussions in a manner that doesn't feel dry or boring. The choice to keep the vernacular contemporary makes sense for keeping younger readers invested in the story and understanding what's being said, but the narrative could have accommodated a compromise to further educate readers on some more era-appropriate vocabulary, especially as there's some helpful information provided at the end of the book about various historical elements, phrases, and dinosaurs mentioned throughout the text.Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book MobileDactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older is an upcoming release that I received as an ARC. This one is a kid's book about dinosaurs in the Civil War. . . I'll pause for you to re-read that one. Yes, there are dinosaurs. Yes, it takes place in the Civil War. This one is a bit of alternate history. The story focuses on children from the Colored Orphans Asylum which was real. The children are trying to find safety (from the war, slavery, and dino-ba More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book MobileDactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older is an upcoming release that I received as an ARC. This one is a kid's book about dinosaurs in the Civil War. . . I'll pause for you to re-read that one. Yes, there are dinosaurs. Yes, it takes place in the Civil War. This one is a bit of alternate history. The story focuses on children from the Colored Orphans Asylum which was real. The children are trying to find safety (from the war, slavery, and dino-based risks), learn who they are, and navigate a very different world. For me, I think this would have read easier as a graphic novel. I visualize as I read, and it was hard to simultaneously navigate a vision of the experiences of the kids, the happenings of the Civil War and the presence of dinosaurs. I recognize this is a children's book, but I just needed so much more detail. I loved the premise as it's so uniquely ambitious, but again, I just had so many questions as I crafted the story in my own head. I would be intrigued to see if the target audience (who is not me) was able to digest and dream this one as they read.
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  • Ricky
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is Older's first MG book? Whatever the count of MG books he's got, this one's one of his best by far. It's a concept that's unbelievably imaginative, a historical fantasy centering black and brown kids in 1863 New York, fighting a society that even though there aren't supposed to be slaves in New York, it's still racist af and there's one Magistrate Riker (for whom Rikers Island was not, in fact, named, per Older's author's note) who's looking to capture as many black people as poss I think this is Older's first MG book? Whatever the count of MG books he's got, this one's one of his best by far. It's a concept that's unbelievably imaginative, a historical fantasy centering black and brown kids in 1863 New York, fighting a society that even though there aren't supposed to be slaves in New York, it's still racist af and there's one Magistrate Riker (for whom Rikers Island was not, in fact, named, per Older's author's note) who's looking to capture as many black people as possible and sell them as far south as possible. (And I'm not just talking the Deep South either.) But there's one secret weapon the people of Dactyl Hill can use to really stick it to their white oppressors: dinosaurs. It's perhaps the most unique and unforgettable steampunk twist since Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy, and for that, I'm here to get this book in the hands of as many kids as possible who cross my path.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    So good. It is everything I want in children's alternative historical fiction. New York during the Civil War with Dinos when the Draft Riots broke out. The main antagonist and his plan seem almost comically villainous until you realize it's based on real events and then you get a little sick inside at how terrible people can be. And not just one or two outliers but groups of people and sometimes the majority. It is a fast-paced, very action-orientated ride full of so many varieties of dinosaurs So good. It is everything I want in children's alternative historical fiction. New York during the Civil War with Dinos when the Draft Riots broke out. The main antagonist and his plan seem almost comically villainous until you realize it's based on real events and then you get a little sick inside at how terrible people can be. And not just one or two outliers but groups of people and sometimes the majority. It is a fast-paced, very action-orientated ride full of so many varieties of dinosaurs living somewhat domestically among the people in the book. They're used here as beasts of burden and war machines. More violent than I expected, almost brutal at times, especially when it comes to the ramifications of using firearms. But as in the other Older book I've read, Last Shot, it has colorful and interesting characters along with with excellent banter.I look forward to the next book in this series and to telling every kid I know around the right age for this book to read it.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like an old man shouting grumpily from my lawn but so many of my more negative reviews recently have mentioned how incredibly fast-paced and action-packed some of the newest YA and children's books are. They're like movies squirming within the confines of the written page, and it's uncomfortable and stressful, like authors think our brains have been hijacked by social media and now we're not content to read stories unless the feel like Twitter feeds or something. Older's prose was so lush I feel like an old man shouting grumpily from my lawn but so many of my more negative reviews recently have mentioned how incredibly fast-paced and action-packed some of the newest YA and children's books are. They're like movies squirming within the confines of the written page, and it's uncomfortable and stressful, like authors think our brains have been hijacked by social media and now we're not content to read stories unless the feel like Twitter feeds or something. Older's prose was so lush and rich in some places, and I adored his varied and whimsical vocabulary, but there was very little room for character development as everyone dashed to and fro. Another reviewer mentioned the violence in the book, and I do worry that the book is so fast-paced that not enough attention or emotional realness is given to the little girl who is witnessing the violence in the book. I really wanted to love this book and give it to all the children in my life, but I just can't.
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  • Karen Parisot
    January 1, 1970
    Set in New York City during the waning days of the Civil War, the story revolves around a group of kids who have lost their home and are fighting to save their friends from the evil and dangerous Knights of the Golden Circle who are part of a huge international slave trading operation. This is a thrilling historical fantasy that will have middle grade readers thoroughly engrossed. Domesticated dinosaurs and pterodactyls feature big in the story. Magdalys Roca is the main character and she’s a gr Set in New York City during the waning days of the Civil War, the story revolves around a group of kids who have lost their home and are fighting to save their friends from the evil and dangerous Knights of the Golden Circle who are part of a huge international slave trading operation. This is a thrilling historical fantasy that will have middle grade readers thoroughly engrossed. Domesticated dinosaurs and pterodactyls feature big in the story. Magdalys Roca is the main character and she’s a great one. She has heart and sheer determination as she leads her friends on their daring mission. There’s a lot of action taking place over the course of a few days and there is some violence. The author has included a section of notes at the rear of the book that covers things like the historical aspects of the storyline and the types and characteristics of the dinosaurs. The ending perfectly sets the stage for a sequel.
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  • Alexa Hamilton
    January 1, 1970
    Older packs in a huge amount into this story--number one, a story about Magdalys and the other kids at the Colored Orphans Asylum in NYC during the Civil War. Plus, there are dinosaurs that do a wide variety of things and there is historical stuff happening and stuff happening to our characters in their personal lives. It's a lot, and there's not a huge number of words--it's under 250 pages (at least my advance copy is). I'm not surprised by the expansiveness of this world as the author's YA boo Older packs in a huge amount into this story--number one, a story about Magdalys and the other kids at the Colored Orphans Asylum in NYC during the Civil War. Plus, there are dinosaurs that do a wide variety of things and there is historical stuff happening and stuff happening to our characters in their personal lives. It's a lot, and there's not a huge number of words--it's under 250 pages (at least my advance copy is). I'm not surprised by the expansiveness of this world as the author's YA books also contain worlds with unbelievable complexity. For me, it was almost too much despite the insane dinos and moments of empowerment for Magdalys. It was also a ton of action, which I know some readers will eat up more than I do. I'm curious to see where the next book takes us in this world.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    I was going to say "fast paced and fun" but there's an underlying seriousness and horror to the historical setting (draft riots, lynching, enslavement) that makes the word "fun" seem misplaced, despite that the author clearly had young readers in mind and carefully crafted a tone that was far more high adventure than historical tragedy. Taken for what it is - a book about dinosaur riding vigilantes in the Civil War era - it was a breathless ride. If you stop to think about the logistics of dinos I was going to say "fast paced and fun" but there's an underlying seriousness and horror to the historical setting (draft riots, lynching, enslavement) that makes the word "fun" seem misplaced, despite that the author clearly had young readers in mind and carefully crafted a tone that was far more high adventure than historical tragedy. Taken for what it is - a book about dinosaur riding vigilantes in the Civil War era - it was a breathless ride. If you stop to think about the logistics of dinosaurs in NYC.....well, you shouldn't be stopping to think about those things in the first place. It's not that type of book. Sometimes you have to just let a book be what it is.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    5th&upThe plot of Dactyl Hill Squad sounds a bit crazy= Civil War, slavers, dinosaurs, a psychic bond between girl & dinos? Wow! With an author like Older, though- you know you’re in good hands. DHS was ridiculously fast paced and suspenseful, including well researched tidbits placing it in an accurate historic context, and it was thought provoking to boot. With a diverse cast and a wonderful main character, readers will be eager for the sequel.This ARC was provided by Arthur A Levine bo 5th&upThe plot of Dactyl Hill Squad sounds a bit crazy= Civil War, slavers, dinosaurs, a psychic bond between girl & dinos? Wow! With an author like Older, though- you know you’re in good hands. DHS was ridiculously fast paced and suspenseful, including well researched tidbits placing it in an accurate historic context, and it was thought provoking to boot. With a diverse cast and a wonderful main character, readers will be eager for the sequel.This ARC was provided by Arthur A Levine books/Scholastic, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kristin Jaques
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this book! While it may seem fictional because there are dinosaurs during the Civil War, the true experiences of People of Color in the North during the Civil War shine through exquisitely! In schools this is not something that is usually talked about except in terms of Abolitionists, so it was wonderful to see this information being made available to middle-grade readers!
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  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    An exciting fantastical tale of New York City in 1863. Dinosaurs roam the streets harnessed to serve man like horses. Follow a group of orphans as they foil a slavery ring during the Conscription Riots, with the help of the Dino’s.You’ll smile and gasp as you read this book that comes out on Tuesday (Sept 11, 2018).Thanks to the Bookloft of German Village (Columbus, OH) for the ARC.
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  • Cherise
    January 1, 1970
    Children of color (orphans) + The Civil War + dinosaurs! + a positive portrayal of a fat main character = amazing! Also features a trans side character. Includes an educational index describing historical characters and events, dinosaurs, and historical guns. This historical fantasy is a gem. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
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