Magdalys Roca and her fellow orphans ride dinosaurs and solve mysteries in Civil War–era New York City.
It’s Manhattan, July 1863, and dinosaurs are a part of everyday life. While a group of children from the Colored Orphan Asylum are seeing a play, riots break out on the streets. Their orphanage is burned down and the other orphans kidnapped. The children find refuge in Brooklyn, learn how to ride pterodactyls, and, as the Dactyl Hill Squad, work with the Vigilance Committee to save their asylum mates from being sold South as slaves. Afro-Cuban Magdalys also has personal mysteries to solve, but nothing is easy when it involves Richard Riker, the evil, white city magistrate behind the kidnappings. Magdalys, used to fending for herself, finds it difficult to be a team player, but her newly discovered ability to communicate telepathically with dinosaurs makes her invaluable. In the end, not only does Magdalys save the day, but she eventually grows to appreciate being a part of a team. Pertinent historical social issues—still very much relevant—are woven into the story. Useful notes explain much, including the use of some modern language. Though the pacing is uneven at times and development of side characters is minimal, this action-packed historical-fantasy adventure should have wide appeal, leaving fans eager for the next installment.
Dino-fueled fun with depth. (Historical fantasy. 8-14)