"This book is true fire. It is everything I didn't even know I needed." -- Jacqueline Woodson

"This is the story that would've made me fall in love with reading when I was a kid." -- Tomi Adeyemi

It's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker.

Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community--a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it's too late?

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published on September 11, 2018 by Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-10: 1338268813
ISBN-13: 9781338268812
17 Book Reviews
  • jeffdaboss
    jeffdabossFriday, August 31, 2018 at 4:38 pm44 stars
    Dactyl Hill Squad was a nice book. It's about an orphan named Magdalys who lives in New York during the Civil War in a time when dinosaurs are still alive. She and her friends go to the local theater, only to be attacked by powerful who want free people of color to be sent back to the South into slavery. They successfully escape and are brought to Brooklyn, where the Vigilance Committee resides. It is there that Magdalys learns about her rare and exceptional ability to mentally communicate with dinosaurs. Using this gift, she teams up with her old and new friends to attempt to take down the evil people who illegally support slavery. This book has an unusual concept, and certain people just won't find it interesting and appealing. Being that the main character is 12 years old, the book is best seen as engaging by tweens.
    • mybooksandi
      mybooksandiSaturday, August 25, 2018 at 10:17 am55 starsFeatured
      Who knew I would love this book this much. To be honest, it seemed really random at first; orphans in 1863 running away from the Kidnapping Club on dinosaur back? Yep, I was unsure. But as the book progressed on it just got better and better, and not a lot of authors can pull that off. This book was about Magdalys Roca, an orphan from the Colored Orphan Asylum who is being targeted, among others, by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. As the story wore on I actually got curious and searched who Richard Riker was, apparently he was really a magistrate who hated colored people. Everything about this book is gripping. The main character herself is really lovable and sharp. The way Daniel Jose Older interpreted dinosaurs and the civil war was nearly impossible but it all came together in a very creative way that I LOVED. So yeah, did I underestimate it? Yes and I'm ashamed. Is it my new favorite book? Yes, and I regret nothing.
      • domosaur
        domosaurMonday, August 20, 2018 at 2:10 pm55 starsFeatured
        Magdalys lives in New York, where dinosaurs roam the streets and segregation still prevails. Magdalys is an orphan, and with her other friends, she stays in the Colored Orphan Asylum. There, she missed her siblings dearly, and was also bullied by the matron. One night, when the Crunks are performing The Tempest at the Zanzibar Savannah Theater, many orphans from the Colored Orphan Asylum are kidnapped on their way to the theater by none other than Richard Riker, the magistrate. On that same night, Magdalys notices that Varney, the orphanage's triceratops, seems to be listening to Magdalys, and replying by following her instructions, such as "go". Magdalys and the rest of her friends find refuge with the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where they train dactyls and plan a way to rescue their friends before it's too late. As well as that, Magdalys strengthens her ability to talk to dinosaurs, which will help a great deal on their quest. Will they save their friends before it's too late? Or will they be gone forever? To find out, read Dactyl Hill Squad, which I give a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I love how dinosaurs were a major part of the story and how interesting/well-thought each character was. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good adventure and dinosaurs.
        • readingkendal
          readingkendalThursday, August 16, 2018 at 2:25 pm55 stars
          If your a black 12 year-old orphan in Manhattan and dinos roam the city while the Civil War rages down south, life is no game. Magdslys Roca and her friends are on a field trip when riots brake out. On the way to the theater Magdalys finds she can talk to dinos. She is imagining right? Then when the other orphans are kidnapped she and her friends are chased by an evil Magistrate they head to Brooklyn to the Dactyl Hill neighborhood. There they make new friends and plot to bring down the evil Magistrate. As they learn to fly datylback they discover every bit of trouble every possible way. Will they get back their friends? Or will their friends be sold down south to Slavery? Find out in Dactyl Hill Squad.
          • belle252
            belle252Monday, August 13, 2018 at 10:09 am55 stars
            Magdalys is like any other black New Yorker afraid that maybe the next day she is going to be put into slavery. When her and her other friends go to a field trip to hear Shakespeare she notices her knack of talking to dinosaurs. Of course it must be a coincidence, I mean who has ever heard of a black New Yorker girl talking to a actual dinosaur. After Richard Riker plans to kidnap the black kids and send them to slavery down south. She has to escape and find her wounded brother, she has courage and strength and she knows she has to save her friends. She escapes into free lands but those are not safe any more either. But no one can be trusted her and her friends get appointed as spy's which is hard by itself, but when Magdalys notices that she actually can talk to dinosaurs everything is about to be flipped. Find out as she makes a plan in order to finish this kidnapping group and find her way to freedom. This book takes a concept like dinosaurs and slavery and puts them together and is totally worth it.
            • bookwormmm
              bookwormmmThursday, August 2, 2018 at 5:25 pm44 stars
              A long time ago, dactyls and all sorts of dinosaurs occupy the streets of New York as a Civil War is in action. Further away, Magdalys Roca got dropped off at the Colored Orphan Asylum when she was a very tiny baby, and has lived there ever since. On a field trip, some of her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are kidnapped by the miscreant, Richard Riker. The Dactyl Hill squad is now formed, made up of Magdalys's courageous friends, who are ready to face the evil Riker. Is Magdalys and her fellow members of the squad able to rescue their friends before they run out of time? I enjoyed this book because of the sense of adventure and how you can relate to the characters and feel as if you you're in the book with Magdalys. I have to admit that it took me some time to get into the book, but once I got into it I was hooked!
              • belle252
                belle252Monday, August 13, 2018 at 10:10 am55 stars
                Totally agree once you get hooked into this book you can not put it down!!