Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs #1: The Buried Bones Mystery

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs #1: The Buried Bones Mystery.  By Sharon M. Draper. Simon and Schuster, 1994. 94 pages. $4.99

Plot: What do you do when it’s a nice summer day just after 5th grade, you and your three best friends go to the basketball court to shoot some hoops, and you find that someone has taken a chain saw and cut down the basketball poles?  Well, when one of your friends is already training himself to eventually work for what he calls, “the FB of I,” you start a club, a club that solves mysteries, and you call it the Black Dinosaurs.  Rico, Ziggy, Jerome, and Rashawn built a clubhouse in Ziggy’s backyard and in the process of digging found another mystery, a box full of bones.  Are the bones human?  Dinosaur?  And are they somehow related to the basketball court mystery?  If anyone can find out it’s the Black Dinosaurs, and they are on the case.

Review: An easy to read mystery with a simple plot, Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs would be a good choice for younger tweens as well as reluctant readers.  The four main characters are likable and friendly, if somewhat one-dimensional.  The boys’ relationships with each other are charming and appealing; they demonstrate great teamwork and camaraderie as they build the clubhouse and solves the mysteries.  Sprinkled with references to African American history, the clubhouse’s first password is “Tuskegee,” this mystery provides cultural diversity to a genre that lacks it.  The back of the book contains an 11-page study guide with questions for each chapter.

Genre(s): Mystery

Reading/Interest Level: 8-10 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

ISBN: 978-0689879104

Subjects: friendship, dinosaurs, clubhouse

Series Information: The Buried Bones Mystery is #1 in a six-book Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs Series

Character names

Rico: lives with his mom, loves the excitement of Ziggy’s house compared to the relative quiet of his own, wears his shirts tucked in and doesn’t like to break the rules

Ziggy: adventurous and full of creative ideas, lives with his mom and several members of his extended Jamaican family, aspires to one day be a spy for the “FB of I”

Jerome: lives with his grandmother and two little sisters, often helps take care of his sisters

Rashawn: lives with his mother and father, has a dog Afrika, is a vegetarian, likes dinosaurs

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