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Freedom Fire

304p. (Dactyl Hill Squad: Bk. 2). Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. May 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338268843. POP
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Gr 4–7 –In this second installment of the series, Magdalys Roca and friends fly into the midst of the raging Civil War hoping to reach her wounded Union soldier brother in New Orleans. The book opens during their journey south from New York when, atop the giant Pteranodon Stella, squad member Cymbeline calls for an enigmatic stop in Tennessee. The group soon discover her true role in the war as they meet with Union General Sheridon's dino-mounted Louisiana Native troops, an African American regiment. High levels of tension and danger ensue as Magdalys witnesses the horrors of war while tamping down her increasing ability to communicate with and control various types of dinosaurs. She even saves the life of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and is called upon to use these talents in the war effort. As her friends go their separate ways, she learns that her brother is in grave danger, and she faces a difficult decision: buck the odds of survival to locate her brother, Montez, or assist the army for the greater good? This series deals with the consequences of war, the racism of both Northern and Southern whites toward individuals of Native American, African American, and Afro-Caribbean heritage, and the pains of growing up during this era. An author’s note provides backstory and the endpapers feature a map of Louisiana, Tennesse, and their respective surrounding areas circa 1863.
VERDICT This series installment will draw readers in with its fast-paced action, likable characters, and fantastical twists on Civil War history.

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