Science Fiction for Kids: Captain Raptor
Every evening I hear a little voice call out, "Dad, it's reading time!" My six-year-old son, Ronnie, loves books and, I'm proud to say, he's well on the way to becoming a reader himself. For his first grade reading assignments, he has successfully tackled a book of Amelia Bedelia adventures and one of The Littles fantasy books.
But even after a hard hour of sounding out new words and struggling with new sentence structures, at 9 p.m. Ronnie always demands our family tradition of a bedtime story (or two, or three).
One of our most enjoyable readings was the two Captain Raptor books, written by Kevin O'Malley and brilliantly illustrated by Patrick O'Brien. Combine Jurassic Park and Star Wars, and you can begin to understand these wonderful children's books.
The planet Jurassica is populated by intelligent, space-faring dinosaurs, defended by the courageous Captain Raptor and crew: navigator Threetoe, professor Angleoptorous, and Master Sargeant Brichthorous. Their rocketship, The Megatooth, is a beauty: a classic 1950's von Braun-style streamliner that reminds me a little bit of the Russian Tupolev-22 Blinder supersonic bomber jet.
Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates has the valiant dinosaur heroes recovering their world's royal jewels from Bloody Bart Scalawag and his cutthroat space crew. But my favorite is Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery, in which the dinos have an interesting-but-cautious first encounter with human astronauts from Earth.
For kids who love dinosaurs and/or space stories (and these days that mostly likely means Star Wars), then the Captain Raptor books will surely please. While the stories are definitely for children, I truly enjoyed O'Brien's detailed, striking illustrations which can be appreciated by anyone interested in comic book art. You don't see many rocketships as cool as the Megatooth.
And here's my favorite dinosaur lover, Ronnie, at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky. Watch out, son!
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