Ziggy, Rashawn, Jerome, and Ricothe Black Dinosaursare thrilled to discover their hometown was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Even more exciting, their new friend Mr. Greene has given them an old map that shows a secret passage dating back to the days of the Railroad, right under their own school. How can the Black Dinosaurs resist making plans to check it out? When a trapdoor slams behind them, locking them in the tunnel, there is only one thing they can do: plunge deeper and deeper into the darkness. Where will the tunnel lead them? And will the old crumbling walls hold until they find their way to the end? The author taught high school English, and she makes the characters personal and alive for the reader. She also has added the element of adventure and mystery. Readers solve a real life adventure scare. There is also a "Study Guide" with "Discussion Topics" in the back of this book. Additional activities include "Information to Explore and Discover," "Jobs to Explore," and "Writing Activities." 2006, Aladdin Paperbacks, Ages 8 to 10.
Gr 3-6Rico, his friend Ziggy, and their classmates have been looking forward to a field trip to the Ohio River. Accompanied by old Mr. Greene, they welcome the break from school, but also find themselves fascinated by the man's stories about the Underground Railroad. Intrigued by the fact that runaway slaves hid in tunnels under their school, the boys (all members of the Black Dinosaurs Club) get a map of the tunnels and plan a search. All goes well until one of the tunnels collapses and they are trapped deep below the deserted school. Inspired by the bravery of the escaped slaves who survived similar ordeals, the boys cope with their fear until rescued. This is the first entry in a projected series about a likable group of African American friends. The characters are realistically portrayed, and the history lessons are interestingly conveyed. Full- and double-page pencil sketches appear throughout.Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library