School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 3-While digging a hole for a swimming pool in their backyard, Katie and Ryan find a huge bone that sends them off to the museum. Dr. Hook determines that the remains of a woolly mammoth are most likely still buried in their yard. The skeleton is unearthed, and the kids get their pool. Inserts of pertinent facts are scattered across the pages. Well-drawn cartoons help to create visual interest, and the characters will appeal to youngsters, but the story is contrived to impart information. A "Think Like a Scientist" section encourages students to measure and compare the lengths of their leg bones. Joanna Cole's The Magic School Bus in the Time of Dinosaurs (Scholastic, 1994) is more interesting and informative. In Bears, three children try to find out what kind of animal has gotten into the garbage can. Oscar is convinced that it's a bear. After a visit to the library, they decide to sprinkle flour on the ground in order to see the footprints better. In the morning, they see a raccoon's telltale white marks. Listening to the radio, they hear that a bear escaped from the zoo. It turns out that Oscar was right all along when they find bear tracks under the lid. The "Think Like a Scientist" page suggests that students compare their own footprints by using shoe-box lids to hold the flour or sand and a ruler to measure their prints. The brightly colored cartoon illustrations show lots of expression and action. This one is an adequate introduction to animal tracks.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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