I don’t spend a whole lot of my time listening to audiobooks pitched at children, however I do have kids and nieces and nephews that like stories, so I made sure to include them in reviewing this to make sure I got a target market opinion.
As for pitching a book for kids, a story containing dinosaurs battling aliens is likely an easy sell for most parents. This is actually book two in the Aliens vs Dinosaurs series, but you can go into this without needing the first. A brief summary of the events in book one sets the scene; aliens have abducted children of the dinos, and a war for leadership is brewing between the King, Rex, and Roughstone, the leader of the insurrection.
The dinosaurs have a social hierarchy similar to humans (just roughly 65-million years before us), with ideas such as a monarchy and military command. They hold meetings and strategy sessions, so rather than dumb beasts, they’re on a similar level to humans today just without the technology.
Perhaps not a bedtime story for getting kids asleep as there’s a lot of action including infighting of the dinosaurs and fighting off the invading aliens, so it might have the opposite effect!
Good themes throughout for kids too, such as working together to solve problems, overcoming cultural differences, and working hard to get along. Violence is there but it’s not the go-to solution for the good guys.
Generally well received by the kids who heard it, though of course kids as dinosaur experts will nitpick. Apparently, some of the dinosaurs lived in different periods… but let’s be fair. It’s a fun story involving smart dinosaurs and aliens, so mixing Jurassic and Cretaceous dinos is fair game.
The narration quality is a bit rough with background noises and other issues I noted throughout. Some volume changes and retakes that don’t quite match up. One noticeable part where the narrator gets a text message because the familiar “ding” had me reaching for my phone. I had to back up and relisten to be sure I hadn’t dreamt it.
There’s some history of how the story came to be as an afterword which is quite interesting. The story evolved from stories being told to the author’s children after a hurricane had left them without power for a few months. After many years or workshopping and feedback, they have released it to the world. This is quite an inspiring journey in itself.
So overall, a fun and fast-moving story that would appeal to most kids. I’d probably go for the slightly older kids because of some of the descriptive violence.
Personally, I think the audiobook could benefit from professional narration and more appealing cover art. I understand the history of the cover is from the kid’s imagination from being told the story, but for most people who won’t know this, I feel it will be passed by.