Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
I wouldn’t call it a child’s book, both for the violence and large words, but a great story for teens and up. This was one I read about ten years ago and, reading it again, I understand a lot of things I just didn’t before. Like re-watching The Lion King after understanding the word “affianced.”
As is often the case, the book just had so much more to it than the movies. My copy was about 400 pages: the first 50 pages, the last 30 pages, and an interwoven plot in the middle was completely overlooked in the movie for narrow escapes and a happy ending. (Pfh. Happy endings. Pfhfh.) This “forgotten tale” adds a lot more depth to the overall story, adding urgency on top of their survival as well as rounding out all the ends.
I thought the character development was magnificent. You get to know the characters, why they act as they do, what they hope to get out of their actions, without really deviating from the story at hand. Nothing is worse than your favorite character running from a T-Rex and stopping for two paragraphs of why they didn’t have or wear proper running shoes on this venture, which is why they tripped and died. (For an extended example of these interferences, please read Les Miserables where you are interrupted for multiple chapters to learn the historical significance of why a wall the character walked past had holes in it.)
Lastly, and you can’t have a dinosaur story without it: death! Who lived, who died, and how they did it. Some were better, some were worse, some you were just so happy to have happen that you read it three times before moving on.
A great book, a modern classic, and I highly recommend it.