Dinosaur Tracking

SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE |   JUNE 24, 2011

…Zeke’s adventure, played out in three acts, is what you might get if you threw The Valley of Gwangi,The Lost World and One Million Years B.C. in a blender with just a dash of Cowboys & Aliens. Cowboys, dinosaurs, aliens and prehistoric people all have their own roles to play, starting with aTriceratops that rampages through the middle of town. Things get even stranger when Zeke stumbles across a small Tyrannosaurus outfitted with riding gear and the wounded, tough-skinned humanoid who controls the dinosaur, and this discovery draws Zeke, his family and his friends into a dangerous conflict between the inhabitants of a prehistoric world and the nefarious D’Allesandro.

Rex Riders contains plenty of complicated plot elements, but Carlson admirably balances them as the plot unfolds…Dinosaurs and numerous action scenes liven things up, but most play a role in getting Zeke to realize something about himself rather than just being there for their own sake. A few black and white illustrations by Jim Calafiore are a welcome addition to the book as well, particularly since they mix modern restorations of dinosaurs with a classic, Ray Harryhausen feel…

Young sci-fi and dinosaur fans will almost certainly love it, and the book reminded me of many of the classic stop-motion dinosaur movies I spent countless afternoons watching when I was a kid. If you like Westerns but wonder what it would be like to replace cattle with Triceratops and horses with Tyrannosaurus, definitely give Rex Riders a look.

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