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Marv and the Dino Attack

Authored by Alex Falase-Koya
Illustrated by Paula Bowles
Published by Oxford University Press

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Marvin has a secret! Not only is he a dinosaur loving, adventure seeking schoolboy, he is also Marv the Superhero whose trusty sidekick is a robot named Pixel. Together, they save Marvin’s classmates from supervillain, Rex who has brought the dinosaur skeletons to life.

Marv and the Dino Attack is the second in Alex Falase-Koya’s series of books, inspired by his love of superheroes and the difficulties he experienced finding books with superheroes who looked like him when he was growing up. Award winning illustrator, Paula Bowles perfectly captures the story’s fast pace through the use of blue/black illustrations which appear on every page.

When Marvin and his classmates embark on a trip to the Natural History Museum, there is excitement as they look forward to seeing some real dinosaur skeletons. With his best friend Joe by his side, and Pixel hidden away in his school bag, he starts his journey around the exhibits. However, when Supervillain Rex enters the museum and brings the dino skeletons to life, Marvin has seconds to become Marv the Superhero and save his classmates from a marauding stampede. Can Marv save the day whilst remaining incognito? Will his magical superhero suit live up to expectations? Will he save Pixel from the clutches of supervillain, Rex? All of these questions are answered in this fun-packed, adventure story as we leap from one dastardly deed to the next, courtesy of evil Rex and his posse of dino skeletons.

With seven chapters over 113 pages, you might be forgiven for thinking this would be a longer read but the fast pace, action packed nature of the story encourages the reader to gallop through the story in order to get to the climax. However, the action is complemented by the underlying themes of friendship, respect, trust, and kindness exemplified by Marvin and his friends. On the surface this appears to be quite a simple read but there are so many layers to this book that can be explored in the classroom in an accessible and fun way. The inclusion of a letter from the author and the ‘Top Trump’ style cards at the end of the book are a nice touch and serve to emphasise the underlying themes contained within the story.

Marv and the Dino Attack is an enjoyable introduction to chapter books for younger readers to get their teeth into and a superb read aloud book which will keep listeners enthralled throughout.

Shortlisted for The Week Junior Book Awards: Illustrated Fiction category 2023.