Nonfiction Monday--The Search for Antarctic Dinosaurs

When I was a child, there weren't any dinosaurs from Antarctica (there were brontosauri back then too, but that's another story). It is, I think, important to try to keep up with your children while you still can. Although I have on occasion exposed depths of ignorance that dismayed my children ("Don't you know anything about g force, Mama?" Short answer-"No."*) I still know as much as they do about dinosaurs. Maybe.

I'm a heck of a lot more interested in dinosaurs than I am in physics. And so I was more than happy to read The Search for Antarctic Dinosaurs, by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by John Bindon (2008, 48 pp with many color illustrations, Lerner). Before the expedition told of in this book, no dinosaurs had ever been found in Antarctica. One day, rocks are discovered that look promising, and a paleontologist sets of with a handful of graduate students to see them for himself.

It is a cold and hazardous search, the author tells us. The protective layers of clothing that each member of the expedition must wear are detailed in a series of sequential illustrations, the rigorous training described, and the hazards (death by crevasse) lightly touched on. What the author does not say is that these paleontologists are nuts. They are also incredibly lucky, and hit pay dirt the first time out--a new species of dinosaur, which they named Cryolophosaurus, or "frozen crested lizard."

This is just one book of many in the "On My Own Science" series--early independent reading of non-fiction. As such, it is a tad stilted stylistically, and not so good for reading out loud (after all, it wasn't meant to be a read aloud book). So although my five year old was interested, I found myself adding commas to make it flow better... I also think that any early independent reader who would want to read this book would already know what a fossil is, and so it felt a bit patronizing to be told, again. The subject matter, though, is really really neat (these people are insane), and my five year old and I both enjoyed the Cryolophosaurus death scene.

He, of course, had already heard of Cryolophosaurs. Unlike me. The moment I read the name, he said, "Oh. Like Allosaurus." Yep, on the next page, that's what it said. Sigh.

Another title in the "On My Own Science" series--Shipwreck Search: Discovery of the H.L. Hunley-- is reviewed here, at Books for Kids Blog.

*They watch Mythbusters. I don't.

The Non-fiction Monday round-up for today is at Simply Science.

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