Danger in the Desert: True Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter (Sterling Point Books Series)

Overview

In the movies, there’s Indiana Jones; but in the real world, there was Roy Chapman Andrews. Some say this fearless, larger-than-life adventurer—who, like Indiana, had a wide-brimmed hat, leather jacket, and six-shooter—may have been the inspiration for the big-screen hero.
From 1910 to 1930, Andrews led countless expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History, boldly facing such dangers as killer pythons, man-eating wild dogs, marauding bandits, blinding sandstorms, and...
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Overview

In the movies, there’s Indiana Jones; but in the real world, there was Roy Chapman Andrews. Some say this fearless, larger-than-life adventurer—who, like Indiana, had a wide-brimmed hat, leather jacket, and six-shooter—may have been the inspiration for the big-screen hero.
From 1910 to 1930, Andrews led countless expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History, boldly facing such dangers as killer pythons, man-eating wild dogs, marauding bandits, blinding sandstorms, and imprisonment by corrupt officials. Even as China and Mongolia exploded in revolutionary chaos, he and his team of paleontologists intrepidly journeyed by car, camel, and horse through the uncharted Gobi desert where he discovered the largest deposits of dinosaur fossils ever seen. His group amazed the world with their discoveries—and scientists are still following in Andrews’s footsteps, digging in the rich sites he found.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"Sterling Point Books," a series of biographies, which mostly cover explorers and warriors, includes this story of Roy Chapman Andrews, scientist and discoverer of dinosaur and mammal fossils in the early twentieth century. Some say that Andrews was the inspiration for fictional adventurer Indiana Jones. Handsome, dynamic, and ambitious, he certainly led an exciting life. Douglas Preston of New York's American Museum of Natural History—Andrews's sponsor—wrote: "Andrews was an accomplished stage master. He created an image and lived it out impeccably." Imagist or not, Andrews delivered the goods, leading expeditions to study whales and becoming a whale expert. The museum then funded trips to China and Mongolia, where Andrews assembled impressive scientific teams, who discovered dinosaur eggs (not known at the time), the prehistoric mammal Baluchitherium, and dinosaurs Protoceratops, Oviraptor, and Velociraptor. He became a celebrity, wrote books, lectured, and led several more expeditions, until revolution and war put an end to exploring in Mongolia; by 1934, Andrews had become director of the Museum of Natural History. Author Cohen, who has lived in Mongolia—where he interviewed some Mongolians who knew of Andrews—keeps the action flowing with highlights of the explorer's career (little is told of his personal life), supplemented by several maps and black-and-white photographs (including Andrews's caravan of Dodge motorcars) from the Museum's collection. Visual appeal would have been enhanced by color photos of the areas and people, but prospective paleontologists could easily be intrigued enough to read some of Andrews's own books and pursue further research.Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

World-famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, heralded as a real-life Indiana Jones, apparently had more lives than a cat. He once opined, "I can remember just ten times when I had really narrow escapes from death." Here, readers get a fascinating glimpse of his near-death experiences and all of his adventures in between. Raised in Wisconsin, Andrews was an avowed naturalist from an early age. He dabbled in hunting and, by the time he was in high school, he was considered a local taxidermy expert. After college, he journeyed to New York where he begged for a job at the American Museum of Natural History, offering to scrub the floors in exchange for a position. His hard work, intelligence, and tenacity soon paid off, and Andrews began a series of expeditions ranging from a whaling excursion in the Pacific Northwest to a government-intelligence mission in the Far East. His adventures culminated in a voyage to Mongolia, where he and his team stumbled across one of the biggest finds in paleontological history: The Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi Desert, a veritable treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. Readers will be riveted by Andrews's exploits, including being marooned on a deserted island and surviving a typhoon in Japan. The text is supplemented by a few small photos.-Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL

Kirkus Reviews
"True" in a broad sense at least, this profile of the distinctly Indiana Jones-like Roy Chapman Andrews sticks to the historical record in describing his monumental expeditions into remotest China and Mongolia. It is, however, well-stocked with invented details and dialogue-much of the latter not exactly lifelike: "The fossils are out there, Roy. Now it's time for you to go and find them." Cohen's narrative unfolds along similarly heavy lines ("To get through the difficult experiences that surely lay ahead, Roy would have to rely on the lucky star that had shone down on him ever since he was a boy"). Moreover, it jumps confusingly back and forth in time, and the stingy selection of small photos hardly does justice to either Andrews's adventures or the importance of his scientific discoveries. Young readers will be more effectively wowed by Ann Bausum's more accurate, coherent and far better illustrated Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs (2000). (Fictionalized biography. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402757068
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 8/5/2008
  • Series: Sterling Point Books Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 967,686
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Desert Danger = High Adventure

    This book is perfect for budding adventurers, dinosaur hunters and archaeologists. It follows the life and times of paleontologist and explorer Roy Chapman Andrews. During the early part of the 20th century, Andrews finds dinosaur bones in the Mongolian desert, explores the tropics for rare animal species, and becomes one of the earliest scientists to study (rather than hunt) whales.

    The book is written at a fairly high elementary school level - maybe strong 3rd grade readers and up. I'm reading the story to my first grader and finding myself modifying some of the language so he can understand better(ex: hanging jungle lianas becomes hanging jungle vines).

    In addition to exploration and discovery, "Danger" introduces anthropology and cultural awareness when Chapman spends some time in a Mongolian ger (tent) while finding himself lost in the Gobi desert. My son particularly enjoyed hearing what the Mongolian's ate and how they were able to quickly collapse their ger, move to a new location, and pop it back up.

    One of the stories is a little raw (Chapman's best friend dies in a boating accident), but all of them will appeal to a boys' imagination.

    I highly recommended "Danger in the Desert".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2008

    Great young boy book

    My son (10 years old) isn't a big reader but had a book report assignment for a biography. We had lots of trouble finding something engaging for him but this was such a great story of an interesting man who I had never heard of. My son was never even a big dinosaur lover when he was younger, but this is really the story of a man's life and we both learned a lot. He read this faster than anything else he's been asked to read this year! I think the publishers are doing a great job appealing to young boys for whom the fantasy fiction craze doesn't really work.

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