Marv And The Dino Attack by Alex Falase-Koya and Paula Bowles

The Blurb On The Back:

”The super-suit is powered by two things: kindness and imagination.  Luckily you, Marvin, have tons of both!”

Marvin is on a school trip to the dinosaur museum when supervillain Rex makes the dinosaur skeletons come alive.  He wants one for a sidekick and he wants it NOW!

When Marvin puts on his superhero suit he becomes MARV – unstoppable, invincible and totally marvellous.  Chased through the museum by a rampaging T-Rex and then surrounded by velociraptors, Marv must use the power of his suit to save the day.

Marv and Pixel are about to show Rex that you can’t make someone be your sidekick – you need to earn their respect and friendship first. 

MARV AND THE DINO ATTACK was released in the United Kingdom on 3rd February 2022.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book

You can order MARV AND THE DINO ATTACK by Alex Falase-Koya from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Marvin’s class is on a school trip to the Natural History Museum in London and Marvin and his best friend, Joe, are very excited about it.  Their teacher tells them to get into pairs in order to complete an activity sheet and Marvin and Joe know that they’ve got a lot of ground to cover but as they’re looking around the dinosaur exhibit, something incredible happens: the dinosaur skeletons start to move and are becoming alive!  Marv and Joe soon discover that this is the work of a new supervillain – Rex – who has used his powers to re-animate the skeletons because he wants a dinosaur for a sidekick.

Thankfully, Marvin has brought his supersuit and his robot sidekick, Pixel.  He knows that together, they’re the only people who can stop Rex from stealing the dinosaurs from the Museum – the only question is, how?

The second in Alex Falase-Koya’s superhero series for children aged 5+ (with great, inclusive illustrations by Paula Bowles) is an action-packed affair with important messages about friendship and kindness.  Rex was a more threatening supervillain, Pixel has more of a character here than “cute robot” and there are more hints that Joe knows Marvin’s secret.  All in all, the series is developing nicely and I look forward to reading on. 

The illustrations in this series work really well with the text.  I love how Paula Bowles is so inclusive in her pictures when it comes to teachers and the other kids in Marvin’s class but she also gives Pixel a real sense of character and gives the dinosaur skeletons a genuine sense of movement (my favourites being one where you see a dinosaur tale disappearing through a door and one where you see Marvin from Rex’s point of view).

This is a much more action-packed story that MARV AND THE MEGA ROBOT with Falase-Koya cutting straight to the good stuff once the kids arrive at the Natural History Museum.  At the same time though, he does include little details of the backstory for readers who may not have read the first book so they can follow what’s going on.  I enjoyed the scenes where Marvin gets to grips with more of the suit’s abilities and I also think that Pixel had more to do here than just be a cute robot.  I enjoyed her exciting beeping and some of the replies she makes to Marvin.

Rex is a more threatening supervillain here than Mastermind was in MARV AND THE MEGA ROBOT.  He comes across as a genuinely nasty, bullying little boy but who has also got some serious power to him.  This is born out by the character card at the end of the book which gives points scores for various attributes (although if I’m being picky, I still think that some of those scores need to be higher than or the same as Marvin’s and Pixel’s in order to provide a sense of jeopardy because it seems to me to be the kind of thing that kids will quickly work out).

The messages in this book are about friendship and kindness, the point being that Rex cannot force dinosaurs to become his sidekicks just by reanimating them.  However there’s also a neat sideline where Marvin is aware that the new girl in the class, Eva, seems to be on her own a lot but doesn’t automatically go out of his way to help her (and again, props to Bowles’s illustrations here which get across her loneliness).  Falase-Koya also continues to strongly hint that Joe has guessed Marvin’s secret and the fact that Marvin’s grandfather has warned him that he can’t tell anyone about his superhero identity promises some interesting tension in future books. 

All in all, I thought this was an entertaining read, with plenty of action and imagination on display.  I’d still like to understand how the suit works a bit more (although I admit that it’s probably not the primary thing younger readers will care about) and I’m also hoping to read a future book where we get to see Marvin’s father.  However, these points aside I think that this book builds on the promise of the first and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Marvin next.  

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