Get ready for more microsaur mayhem (and a bit of babysitting!) in Tiny-Stego Stampede, the fourth installment of Dustin Hansen's action-packed illustrated chapter book series!
LOOK OUT BELOW!!!
Danny and Lin have gotten pretty good at taking care of tiny dinosaurs, so when Lin's mom asks them to babysit her sister ChuChu, they're sure they've got it covered. After all, what better place to spend an afternoon than hanging out in the Fruity Stars Lab and playing with the microsaurs? They will be the best babysitters EVER!
But when the biggest microsaur they've ever seen starts a stego stampede, Danny and Lin realize they are up for their most important adventure yet. Not only do they need to stop the microsaurs from destroying the microterium, but they've also got to save ChuChu!
Praise for Microsaurs:
"Hansen’s imaginative, energetic story carries the feel of a video-game adventure. With its emphasis on technology, this light scifi romp provides a fun way for readers to make STEM connections or simply frolic among the dinosaurs." Booklist on Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack
"The black-and-white illustrations add to the text and make this story a page-turner." School Library Journal on Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack
"Video-game creator Hansen mashes up dinosaurs, futuristic technology, extreme sports, and other ever-popular story elements in his first novel, which launches the Microsaurs series.... Hansen’s peppy cartoons provide an up-close look at all the smaller-than-life action in this high-energy escapade." Publishers Weekly on Follow that Tiny-Dactyl
"Hansen mixes fantasy, science fiction, and realistic fiction to create a fast-paced read for elementary readers. His whimsical illustrations of the dinosaurs make them appear as lovable pets." Booklist on Follow that Tiny-Dactyl
"This fast paced book is full of action and the delightful illustrations will attract young readers." School Library Connection on Follow that Tiny-Dactyl
About the Author
Dustin Hansen, author of Game On! and the Microsaurs series, was raised in rural Utah where he spent many days hiking red rock canyons that once belonged to the dinosaurs. After studying art at Snow College, Dustin began working in the video game industry, where he has been following his passions of art and writing for more than 20 years. When not writing or making video games, Dustin can often be found hiking with his family in the same canyons he grew up in, with a sketchbook in his pocket, a new idea in his mind, and a well-stocked backpack over his shoulders.
Read an Excerpt
THE THUNDERING HERD
"How do you hide a herd of stegosaurus?" Lin asked. She picked a long strand of grass, then started chewing on it as we sat in the big open field.
"Stegosauri," I said.
"Huh?" Lin said with a confused look on her face.
"I think the plural of stegosaurus is stegosauri," I explained.
"Well, right now it's more like zero-sauri. Are you sure they're in here already?" Lin asked.
"Sure, I'm sure. Professor Penrod let them go before he went exploring in Utah. He said, 'Danny, old boy, I've released a herd of new critters in the Microterium. Stegosauri, to be exact. I'm sure they'll get along just fine, but I would feel a whole lot better if you and Lin would check in on the new herdand see if they're feeling hunky-dory,'" I said in my best Professor Penrod impression.
"Well, that sounds like him all right. But I still don't see any stegos. Maybe they're underground," Lin said.
"I doubt it. They're like bison of the Old West, or cows even. You know, grazers. I think if we keep looking in this grassy area we'll find them soon enough," I said. I tossed a stick to Bruno. He settled down next to me and began chewing it to bits.
"We've been looking forever. I just wish they'd give us a sign," Lin said, taking off her hat, which used to belong to Professor Penrod. She wiped her brow on the sleeve of her shirt. Then we heard a deep bellow behind us that literally shook the earth. Well, it shook the Microterium, that's for sure.
Lin and I looked at each other. Our mouths flopped open.
"What was that?" I asked.
"More like, who was that?" Lin said. "Let's go see."
Without waiting for my reply, Lin jumped on Zip-Zap's back, and in a flash, they zipped toward the noise. I quickly stuffed the rest of our lunch in my backpack, then climbed on Bruno. Zip-Zap and Lin were almost to the top of a little hill. Bruno did his best to keep up, but his stumpy legs were not built for sprinting.
Before Bruno and I reached the top of the hill, Zip-Zap and Lin came rushing back. Bouncing along on Zip-Zap, Lin waved her arms like crazy, her eyes so wide open it looked she'd seen a Microsaur ghost!
"Run! Turn around!" Lin shouted, but Bruno and I were frozen in our tracks.
The long neck of the largest Microsaur I've ever seen stretched out over the hill behind Lin. It was taller than a construction crane. His leather skin looked like tree bark, old and wrinkled, and his head was as wide as a minivan. He opened his mouth and let out another deep bellow, and the sound rumbled and trembled all the way down to the pit of my stomach. I knew I should be scared because I was directly in the path of a walking skyscraper, but I couldn't help but smile. He was the most amazing Microsaur I'd ever seen, and I've seen a lot of amazing Microsaurs.
Lin zipped by Bruno and me. "Danny! RUN! It's a stego stampede!"
I pulled my eyes from the long-necked Microsaur to the top of the hill just as three, then five, then more than twenty stegosauri charged over the hill. Their feet sounded like thunder as they rushed toward us, and I didn't have to tell Bruno to do anything. He spun around and burst down the hill, his stumpy legs churning faster than I ever thought possible.
But even though Bruno was trying his best, the stampede caught up to us in no time. Stegosauri twice Bruno's size snorted and slobbered as they pounded the earth beneath them, stirring up a thick cloud of dust. I coughed and wheezed, then pulled my shirt up over my nose.
I tried with all my might to get Bruno to smash his way out of the stampede, but it was no use. We were totally caught up in the flow. The spiked tail of a big bull stego swooshed over my head, nearly turning me into a shish kebab. We bumped into the rump of another stampeding Microsaur, and it would have sent me flying if my right shoe hadn't been twisted under Bruno's collar.
As I squinted through the dirt cloud, I saw my only hope for escape. A small pile of jagged boulders a few inches taller than Bruno jutted out of the grass. I leaned to the right with all the muscle I could muster and pulled my triceratops toward the rocky hiding spot. Bruno used his strong neck and bony crest to bully his way out of the herd. Then, as if he was reading my mind, he jumped over the rock pile and ducked behind it. I fell to the ground next to him and rolled up into a ball by his side.
Hundreds of thundering stegosaurus feet stomped around us. Some even climbed the little pile of rocks and jumped right over our heads as we ducked for cover. The stampede came to an end as the massive body of the long-necked dinosaur slowly cast his shadow over Bruno and me. The massive Microsaur bellowed again, and dust and tiny pebbles tumbled down on us as we crouched in our hiding spot.
The stego stampede faded into a dust cloud, making its way down the hill. I was about to tap on my Invisible Communicator to call for Lin, when she and Zip-Zap poked around the edge of the pile of jagged rocks.
"Danny? Are you okay?" she asked.
I stood up and checked to make sure all my parts were still attached. I was so shaken by the experience that I honestly wasn't sure. "Everything looks okay," I said. Then the two of us shared a huge grin.
"That ... was ... AMAZING!" we both said at the same time.
"Did you see the big one?" Lin asked.
"Of course! He's pretty hard to miss," I said.
"And there must have been a hundred stegos," Lin said.
"At least. Maybe more!" I said, filled with excitement.
"We have a big problem, Danny. How are we going to name them all?" Lin asked. "Holy moly — it's going to be impossible!"
While I agreed with Lin that it was going to be tough to name all the stegos, there was something else worrying me.
"I think we might have a bigger problem than that. Look at the grass, Lin. It's totally ruined. They smashed it flat," I said.
"Whoa. That's not good," she replied with panic in her voice, and I could tell she was as worried as me.
"We have to do something about this. Look at that." I pointed to a pile of sticks that was once a grove of trees. "We can't let them just run around and smash everything," I said.
"True, but what?" Lin asked.
Just before I blurted out a totally overcomplicated idea that included underground laser wire, motion detectors, nets, and flashing lights, Lin chimed in with the most obvious and perfectly simple idea ever.
"I guess we could build a fence," she said. "You said they were like cows. Cows stay inside of fences all the time."
"Of course. Why didn't I think of that?" I said. "We could build it out of the same blocks we used to build the Fruity Stars Lab 3.0. I have plenty left over back home."
Lin climbed back on Zip-Zap, then straightened her hat. "Well, come on, then, Danny. This fence isn't going to build itself," she said. She yahoo'ed her best cowgirl yelp, then cheered as Zip-Zap ran toward the Fruity Stars Lab.
Bruno dipped lower so I could easily jump on his back, but then he just stood there waiting.
"Come on, Bruno. Let's go," I said. The big Microceratops huffed a big breath but didn't move an inch. "What's wrong? Let's go."
Bruno huffed again, and I knew what he was waiting for. "Oh, okay. I get it," I said. I let out a loud and very cowboyish YIPEE ki- YAY! and Bruno thundered down the hill after Lin and Zip-Zap.CHAPTER 2
FENCING FOR BEGINNERS
On my ride back to the Fruity Stars Lab 3.0, I had plenty of time to think about Lin's fence plan. It sounded easy, but I knew from experience that things that sounded easy in the Microterium ended up being ... well, not so easy.
Something wasn't quite right, but I couldn't figure it out. By the time we arrived at the lab, Lin was waiting for us and feeding one of her specially made Microbite energy pellets to Zip-Zap.
"Howdy, slowpokes," Lin said with a nod of her hat.
"We're slow but sturdy. Just the way I like it," I said as I slid from Bruno's back.
"Here you go. Fuel up, buddy," Lin said as she rolled a Microbite to Bruno. He started munching on it right away.
"So, Lin. I've been thinking," I said.
"Of course you have," she said. "I'm not surprised."
"One time I was watching an old cowboy movie with my dad. The cowboys built a fence for their cows, but as soon as they finished putting up the last post, the herd smashed it to bits. And these were only cows. We're talking about building a fence for a bunch of stegos that make cows look like kittens. I'm not sure a fence is going to be enough," I said.
"Maybe the cowboys should have built a fence with PIBBs," Lin suggested. "We can build it as high, and strong, as we want."
"Yeah, I guess so. But there are more problems that are bugging me, too," I said.
"Like what?" Lin said.
"Well, for one. We don't know where the herd of stegos is going to be. So, we can't just build a fence around them. We need to bring them to the fence. How are we going to do that?" I asked.
"That is a problem. But even though I don't know how to turn around a herd of stampeding stegos, I am pretty excited to find out," Lin said with a huge smile.
I smiled back at Lin. It was hard not to when we were talking about a big adventure. But if I've learned anything in the Microterium, it's that getting a little advice before heading into an adventure is a good idea, too. I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and punched a button to video call a familiar face.
"Let's call the professor before you go cowgirling after the stampede," I said as the phone began to ring.
I swung around and tilted my camera phone so that the camera could see both of us. Professor Penrod answered, and before his smiling face was even in focus, Lin spoke.
"Howdy from the Microterium," she said.
"Howdy from Utah, Danny and Lin," he said. The sun was shining around him, and I could hear a river nearby. His glasses had a new apparatus that filled my mind with questions. But they would have to wait, because we needed answers about stampeding Microsaurs, not new inventions.
"It looks sunny there. Are you making any discoveries?" I asked.
"Certainly, Danny. This place is ripe with dinosaur history, which makes it a prime location for Microsaur activity," the professor said.
"Cool," Lin said.
"Cool indeed, Lin. Now, how can I help you two this fine day?" the professor asked.
I told him about our near miss with the stego stampede, and how they were flattening everything in their path. Before I had finished, the professor looked very concerned.
"And that's not all. There's a humongous long-necked Microsaur with the herd of stegosauri, and he's smashing things, too," Lin explained.
"Oh, that'd be Wilson, and he's not just a long-necked Microsaur. He's an apatosaurus. A colleague of mine from Argentina is having me watch after him — oh, wait. I've said too much."
A hundred questions zipped through my brain at once. Did the professor have a friend in another country that knew about the Microsaurs? Did this friend take care of Microsaurs, too? Was there another Microterium? I was about to start peppering Professor Penrod with questions, when Lin asked a question of her own.
"We were thinking about building a fence to hold in the stegos. Do you think that will work?" Lin asked.
"A fine idea. But don't forget. If you are going to put a fence around the stegosauri, you'll need to put it in a place that is just right for them. Lots of grass to graze, shade to enjoy, fresh water to sip. Fences are fine as long as what is inside is better than what is on the outside. Otherwise ..." Professor Penrod said.
"The herd of stegosauri will smash it to bits," Lin said.
"Precisely," the professor said.
"Of course," I said as I made a list in my mind of everything the environment would need to be a perfect stegosaurus home.
"But there is one problem. Now that I think of it, a fence won't keep Wilson inside. No way," Lin said.
"Quite right, Lin. A fence wouldn't even be a challenge for an apatosaurus. I think Wilson will go wherever he likes. You just need to make him a place he really loves. I suggest a nice lake and plenty of company," Professor Penrod said.
"Like, more apatosauri?" I asked.
"Unfortunately, I'm not sure there are more apatosauri. Wilson is very special. I was hoping that he'd make friends with the stegosauri. I'm pleased to hear your report that he is traveling with the herd. He's friendly and protective, so if you can manage to corral the stegosaurus herd, I'm fairly certain he'll stay nearby. However, he will need a lake and loads of leafy food to eat, so that might be a bit of a challenge for you as well," the professor said.
"Okay, Wilson needs friends, water, and probably something to munch on," I said.
"That sounds perfectly patagotitanish," Professor Penrod said.
"Do you think he will like broccoli?" Lin asked.
"I'm sure he would. Who doesn't? In fact, I believe he'd also like ..." Professor Penrod said, then another voice spoke up from behind the professor.
"Professor. Will you come look at this, please? I think I've found something that might interest you," a woman's voice said.
"Certainly, Dr. Carlyle. I'll be right there," Professor Penrod said with a smile. "I've got to run. The science is alive and kicking here in Utah, as we had hoped."
"But wait! We have one more question. How do we get the stego stampede to get into the fenced-in area after we build it?" I asked, hoping to squeeze in one more question before Professor Penrod slipped away.
"Easy. You use the best tools in your toolshed. Your wise minds and creative imaginations," Professor Penrod said. "Be safe, and remember — adventure awaits!"CHAPTER 3
SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE
After our discussion with Professor Penrod, Lin and I spread out a large map of the Microterium on top of the die that we used as a table.
"So, we obviously need to unshrink," Lin said.
"Obviously, but I wish we had a plan for where to build the fence first. The grassy plains seem nice, but there isn't enough water. And the rolling hills behind the swamp are pretty good, plus there is the swamp nearby, which Wilson would love, but there isn't much shade. I just can't find the perfect place," I said.
"How about in the back corner in the red-rock canyons? They might like that area," Lin said.
"I thought about that, too, but it's too hot and sandy. It's basically a desert back there," I said.
"Maybe we'll just have to build something," Lin said. "We could dig a new lake and plantbroccoli around it for Wilson. We could put it in a nice grassy area full of trees. You know. Make our own environment."
"That's what I'm starting to think, too. We could name the place Stego Valley and call the lake Lake Wilson," I said with a grin.
"Yeah, that'd be so cool. Let's do that," Lin said. "But first, let's unshrink. I'm not going to dig out a whole lake when I'm tiny."
"Good idea," I said. I pressed the button to get the Expand-O-Matic started. Before it would do its unshrinking trick, the machine that Professor Penrod invented needed to warm up. The purple Carbonic Expansion Particles had to get to just the right temperature to bring you back to normal size.
The Expand-O-Matic gurgled and popped as it warmed, but that wasn't the noise that caught our attention.
"I think that was Pizza," I said.
"No, it was Cornelia," Lin said. Then the moaning returned, only louder this time.
"It was both of them," I said. "Let's go check them out."
Leaving the gurgling Expand-O-Matic behind, Lin and I ran to the back of the Fruity Stars Lab 3.0. When we rebuilt the new lab out of the Plastic Interlocking Building Blocks that my dad and I had invented, we made sure to add a big window so we could look down into the playpen we had created for the twin Microsaurus rexes. We called the place the observation deck, and when we got there it was easy to see something wasn't quite right.
The toys that Lin had given them were torn to shreds, and there were little Microsaurus-rex-sized holes dug all around the place. Something didn't seem right. Pizza and Cornelia were usually happy and playful, but they were walking around inside the playpen, sniffing at the PIBBs and occasionally scratching in the dirt.
"What's wrong with them?" I asked. Pizza looked up at me and groaned.
"Maybe they are hungry. They're growing so fast that they may need more food," Lin said. She ran to the food storage bin, opened the big door, and pulled out a full slice of pepperoni so big it looked like a blanket. "Help me with this, will ya?"
Lin and I carried the pepperoni slice to the observation deck and heaved the big chunk of oily meat over the edge. It fell to the playpen, right between the twins. We used to give them small chunks of pepperoni, but watching them tear a big piece to shreds was so cool that we'd started giving them full slices.
The twins slowly walked to the pepperoni and nibbled at it.
"Where is all the tearing and shredding? That's my favorite part," Lin said. "It's like they grew manners or something."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Microsaurs"
Copyright © 2018 Dustin Hansen.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Thundering Herd,
Chapter 2: Fencing for Beginners,
Chapter 3: Sounds Like Trouble,
Chapter 4: The Anti-Bore-Itorium,
Chapter 5: A Plan for Pizza Dogs,
Chapter 6: Getting Down to Business,
Chapter 7: Follow the Leader,
Chapter 8: Follow that Zip-Zap!,
Chapter 9: You're Not Going to Believe This,
Chapter 10: Welcome to the Microterium,
Chapter 11: Smash and Dash!,
Chapter 12: Get 'em On Up!,
Chapter 13: Surprise!,
Chapter 14: Sliding Home,
Chapter 15: Let's Make a Deal,
A Message From Penrod,
Facts About Stegosauri,
About the Author,