Monday, November 14, 2011

Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates by Kevin O’Malley and Patrick O’Brien illustrated by Patrick O’Brien

Text copyright © 2007 by Kevin O’Malley and Patrick O’Brien
Illustrations copyright ©2007 by Patrick O’Brien
In the misty skies above the planet Jurassica, a dark and sinister shape is seen moving among the clouds. Suddenly ….BOOM! A canon roars overhead. Amid the fire and smoke the pirate ship Blackrot descends to the ground. The hatch flies open, and a mob of misshapen mutants and reptilian cyborgs flow like a river out of the ship, screaming and shouting and waving their laser swords.
The mutants from the ship Blackrot raid the imperial palace stealing Jurassica’s Jewels.  They then flee to outerspace.  The helpless President of Jurassica calls for Captain Raptor to come to their aid. Captain Raptor is the “hero of a thousand space missions; champion of truth, justice and dinosaurs in space throughout the galaxy.”  His ship is the Megatooth and his fearless crew is comprised of three other dinosaurs.
The Megatooth blasts off in pursuit. They find the pirate ship adrift in space without power, appearing defenseless; however, it is a trap.  When the Megatooth approaches, the Blackrot fires on it. The Megatooth is struck and barely averts a crash landing on what appears to be an uninhabited barren moon. The crew is unharmed but the same cannot be said for the Megatooth. A critical component is broken and the master engineer is unable to repair it; the crew is marooned.
Captain Raptor discovers a suspicious acting creature named Bart Scalawag spying on them.  Scalawag explains that his ship was hijacked by pirates and they marooned him there too. In exchange for Captain Raptor taking him aboard, Scalawag, who is handy, will repair the Megatooth.
Once Scalawag has the Megatooth functioning, they begin their return to Jurassica. While en route, they encounter Robokron, “the giant robotic space beast.”  It must be defeated first.
The Megatooth finally arrives at Jurassica where it does battle with the Blackrot which has returned for more pillaging. While Captain Raptor and his crew focus on the fight at hand, Scalawag steals the Megatooth’s shuttle craft and flees to the Blackrot. It turns out the sneaky Scalawag was formerly Captain of the Blackrot. Now that he is back at the helm, he seeks to destroy the Megatooth.  The discerning Captain Raptor, however, was always distrustful of Scalawag. Before the battle, Captain Raptor placed a bomb in the shuttle craft. Scalawag has now, unwittingly, carried it back to his pirate ship.  The bomb is detonated, and the Blackrot crashes.  All the pirates, including Scalawag, are captured and sent to prison. Once again, Captain Raptor saves the day!
If your kids love Star Wars, Star Trek and dinosaurs, they will flip over these books as my boys have for the last year. As the spouse of a Trekkie and therefore a Trekkie by association, it seems that Captain Raptor’s voice should resemble the voice of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. When I read the books to the boys, I imitate him and they think it is pretty cool. Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates is the second book in the series, Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery being first. We own both and will eagerly purchase the third title, which the authors informed me, they are currently working on.

Because my two oldest children are boys, I spend a lot of time searching for “boy books.”  I have always read that boys are more reluctant readers than girls so I want to make sure I do everything in my power to foster a lifelong love of reading. I have made it my mission to search out a variety of titles, such as the Captain Raptor series and the other books on this blog, that really appeal to them.   As a result of my diligence, at 6 and 4, everyday they each still come to me with a stack of books and request that I read. They also spend a lot of time looking at books independently without any prompting. Thanks  O’Malley and O’Brien!

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