Random House Publishing Group
Set in the future, the story takes place on the fictional island of Isla Nublar. John Hammond, a businessman, starts a company called InGen with the idea of bringing dinosaurs to life and setting them up in an amusement park in Isla Nublar. Just before the park is open to the public, Hammond invites a group of scientists to take a "test ride" in the island. Alan Grant, a paleontologist, is excited, as are Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim and Lex Murphy. However, Ian Malcolm, a mathematician, is a sceptic; based on his expertise in chaos theory, he predicts that the park will fail. Unfortunately, his predictions start coming true when Dennis Nedry, a computer programmer, tries to steal frozen dinosaur embryos for a rival company. When Nedry turns off the power supply, he brings down the electrified fences surrounding the dinosaurs. There are many close calls of death, but most of the people make it alive. Tim and Lex confront the dinosaurs many times, but escape each time, even blinding a dinosaur once. Eventually, the children manage to return to the control room with only a few cuts and bruises. They bring serenity back to the island by turning the power on and shutting the dinosaurs in their cages. The government is called and the group flies back to New Mexico, never to talk about their weekend.
I enjoyed this book because the plot was compelling and there were many unexpected twists and turns. When I started reading the book, I expected it to contain a lot of scientific facts but not have much of a story. However, as the story progressed, I found myself intrigued by the sheer suspense surrounding the fate of the main characters. Occasional parts were hard to understand because complex information on fractals and chaos theory were crammed in without sufficient explanation. I also did not enjoy the violence of the “attack scenes”. Still, I found the overall story gripping. I thought the word choice was good, but not advanced, because I was familiar with most of the words. If I went back in time, I would still choose this book because of its genre and the extraordinary mix of fact and fiction. Although the vocabulary is not complex, I would recommend this book to older middle school students because of the gruesome details in the death scenes, and the scientific concepts behind the main ideas. I would rate this book eight out of ten stars.
STUDY QUESTIONS AND VOCABULARY:
1. What is the name of the island where the dinosaurs live?
1a. They live on the island of Isla Nublar. (53)
2. Who are Tim and Alexis Murphy?
2a. They are Hammond’s grand-children. (94)
3. How do they get the DNA for the dinosaurs?
3a. They extract the DNA from insects that have been crystallized onto trees. The insects might have been bitten by dinosaurs back then. (101)
4. How many species of dinosaurs live on the island?
4a. Fifteen species live on the island. (113)
5. How do the workers of InGen control the animals from eating people?
5a. They have electrical fences which shock the animals if the touch the fence. (131)
6. Who takes the emergency jeep?
6a. Nedry takes the jeep. (178)
7. Why can the dinosaurs breed?
7a. They have frog DNA which can change gender. (209)
8. How do Grant, Tim, and Lex find their way back?
8a. They follow the sensors which are marked with numbers. (233)
9. How are the security systems turned of?
9a. Nedry adds a hack code, whte_rbt.obj, which shuts the power down. (229)
10. How do Wu and Arnold fix and reset the security systems?
10a. They turn all the power off and manually turn everything back on. (255)
11. How many embryos did Nedry take?
11a. He took fifteen embryos. (273)
12. How come the T-Rex does not find Tim and Lex when they are behind the waterfall?
12a. The water blinds the dinosaur and she can not see them. (297)
13. How does Grant kill the dinosaurs?
13a. He injects eggs with poison which he feeds to the dinosaurs.(353)
14. Who fixes the power so that it is back on main power?
14a. Time fixes the power. (360)
15. What does the government do to the island?
15a. They blow the island up so the animals all die. (397)