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Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery

Last updated Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Author: Kevin O'Malley
Illustrator: Patrick O'Brien
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0802789358
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2013

Synopsis: From School Library Journal
An action-packed science-fiction romp starring a cast of dinosaur characters. When a mysterious object lands on one of Jurassica's moons, Captain Raptor and his crew set out in their spaceship to investigate. After narrowly escaping several dangerous situations, they land on Eon's surface and discover that an unfamiliar vessel has crashed nearby. During a tense confrontation between the dinosaurs and the newcomers, the alien leader is suddenly swept away by a winged "pteraspikadon." Captain Raptor quickly engages his blastobooster, rockets into the sky, and saves him. After properly greeting the human visitors and helping them get under way, the crew returns to the Megatooth and heads out for another adventure. Presented in comic-book style, this story blends an eye-catching layout with a quick-moving plot, tongue-in-cheek humor, and an imaginative setting. The text has a melodramatic tone that suits the tale perfectly. While much of the watercolor and gouache artwork consists of sequenced rectangles, occasional single- and double-page paintings open out the format and highlight important moments. The dinosaurs, who wear funky-looking space gear and have an endless supply of gadgets, are a blast. The bespectacled Professor Angleoptorous is part beast and part robot, while toothy Captain Raptor, in his shiny and spiky armor, has a real hero's elan. Sci-fi fans and dinophiles will eat this book up, and it might also capture the interest of reluctant readers.

Note to readers:
•  Read the front inside cover to the children first

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is Captain Raptor?
•  What kinds of mysteries would be on the moon?

•  Jurassic - of or pertaining to a geologic period of the Mesozoic Era, from 190 million to 140 million years ago, characterized by the presence of dinosaurs and the advent of birds and mammals.
•  Eon - The largest defined unit of time is the supereon, composed of eons. Eons are divided into eras, which are in turn divided into periods, epochs and ages.
•  Galaxy - a large group of stars, dust, gas and dark matter held together by gravity. They vary in size with some containing millions of stars while others could contain as many as a trillion.
•  Universe - made up of everything that exists, including planets, stars, galaxies and all forms of matter and energy.
•  Rugged Terrain - Land whose surface is rough and uneven and possibly rocky or steep.
•  Atmosphere - The earth is surrounded by a layer of gases called the atmosphere. The atmosphere is very important to life on Earth and does many things to help protect life and help life to survive.
•  Interstellar - the space between stars

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who were the aliens in the story?
•  Why were the aliens on Eon?
•  Why is Captain Storm thankful towards Captain Raptor?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw your own comic strip story. Use the template provided or draw large squares/ rectangles on paper. Then draw pictures in each to tell a short story.
•  Make a rocket by cutting basic shapes (triangles for top & bottom, rectangle for rocket body), then pasting onto paper. Another option is to make a tube with construction paper, a pointed top, and feet for the rocket to stand. Add drawings & a name for your rocket with bright colors.
•  Make a dinosaur by drawing the head, arms, legs and tail and pasting to a tube of construction paper for the body.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!