Hope you enjoy our Dinosaur Week this week at Kids’ Book Capers. We’ll be talking with authors Michael Bauer and Sheryl Gwyther about their action packed adventure dinosaur books for kids.
TODAY – DINOSAUR IN THE DARK AGES
In Michael Bauer’s 2010 CBCA Notable book, Dinosaur Knights, a dinosaur ends up in the Dark Ages when a science experiment goes badly wrong.
Scientists in the future have developed technology to reach back into the past and draw living things forward in time. They do this by locking onto ‘time fossils’ or ‘time prints’, impressions left by all living things on the fabric of time.
The scientists attempt to pull a dinosaur, Baryonyx Walkeri into their future for scientific research. When the dinosaur is lost during transportation, it turns up in Medieval England where two young brothers Roland and Oswald, and a girl Cristiana have their lives turned upside down.
Today, Michael Bauer is here to talk about his book and how he wrote it.
Can you tell us about the characters in your story?
Twins Roland and Oswald, and a girl Cristiana are around 13. Roland, a boy of action and adventure, but few words, longs to be a Knight. His brother Oswald wants to follow in their father’s footsteps and becoming a physician. He doesn’t take life quite as seriously as his brother. Cristiana is the feisty daughter of a local Lord. Against her will she is being made to marry a wealthy landowner almost her father’s age. The dinosaur’s arrival changes everything, particularly for the boys. The local Sheriff is found dead in the nearby forest and the boys’ father is convicted of his murder by corrupt officials. Oswald and Roland along with Cristiana set out to confront the monstrous ‘dragon’ and somehow prove that it is the real culprit.
What do you like about these characters?
They are all different, and even though they have their flaws and weaknesses they show great spirit and courage in tackling the challenges and dangers they must face.
Michael, is it true that you ‘borrowed’ your son’s old Jurassic park T-Rex figurine and his Action Men figures to help you write this book?
Yes it helped me to visualise some of the scenes where Oswald, Roland and Cristiana do battle with the dinosaur. That was fun!
Michael has published five books including Dinosaur Knights (Michael’s other books include The Running Man, Don’t Call Me Ishmael, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugong and You Turkeys). Your books are all quite different from each other. Do they have any common themes?
I think one theme shared by my books is the idea that everyone is different and unique, and that this is a good thing and should be celebrated.
Another one is how we think we know other people but we often judge them mainly on appearance or make assumptions about them with very little evidence or real understanding of them.
I love it when my characters show a side of their character or reveal something about themselves that takes the readers or other characters by surprise and makes them reassess their judgments.
Teacher’s notes for all Michael’s books can be found at http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/curriculum/
Thanks for dropping in, Michael. I can’t wait to read the new Ishmael Book you’re working on, and your next book, Just a Dog (due out September 2010).
On Wednesday, author Sheryl Gwyther will tell us how she went on a dinosaur dig to research her book, Secrets of Eromanga.