How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

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Acclaimed author/illustrator Jessie Hartland presents the fascinating 145-million-year journey of a dinsoaur: a Diplodocus longus, from its discovery in 1923 in Utah to its arrival in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

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Acclaimed author/illustrator Jessie Hartland presents the fascinating 145-million-year journey of a dinsoaur: a Diplodocus longus, from its discovery in 1923 in Utah to its arrival in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An efficient and entertaining mix of science, history, and humor, Hartland’s follow-up to How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (2010) turns a young museum-goer’s question—“So, how did the dinosaur actually get to the museum?”—into a multilayered explanation. As in the previous book, Hartland combines a “House That Jack Built” structure with playful typography and her always appealing naïf aesthetic. Based on the true backstory of an 87-foot dinosaur skeleton on exhibit at the Smithsonian, Hartland’s story begins with the drowning of an unlucky diplodocus. A bone catches the eye of a grizzled dinosaur hunter 145 million years later, setting in motion a fascinating chain of tasks that gets the fossil ready for its big museum unveiling. Readers meet paleontologists, excavators, preparators, riggers, and welders, with each profession getting an evocative typographic nameplate to heighten the cumulative fun (“Dinosaur Hunter” is in a Wild West typeface, while “Welders” looks like it’s cut from steel). Hartland’s spreads are impressively and often humorously detailed—from the tools and plans on the workroom walls to the Fig Newtons on the curator’s desk. Ages 6–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Brilliantly simple and effective, this is an excellent addition to any elementary collection.- SLJ, starred review
"The overall elicited emotion is awe—both for the passage of time and for the steps required to bring a simple hunk of stone to the fifteenth person: you." — BOOKLIST, starred review

"Clearly this is a fun concept with a lot of different applications one can work with and the first in the series is a true keeper...Consider this a greatway to bridge the past and the present for your kids." — Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production

Top Ten Sci-Tech Books for Youth for 2010 Booklist
"With exhaustive, dizzying detail, this picture book travels through time and across the world to look at how a seven-ton sphinx made its way from ancient Egypt to a museum." — Booklist

Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
How did the skeleton of a Diplodocus make its way from an old river bed in Utah to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History? Hartland, author of How Did the Sphinx Get to the Museum? engagingly explains the process. She shows how the dinosaur's bones were buried over time and then exposed and discovered by a dinosaur hunter. A paleontologist confirms the find and excavators carefully remove the bones. Movers transport them and preparators at the museum then assemble them, aided by paleontologists. Others have a role too: welders, riggers, the exhibits team, cleaners, and even a clumsy night watchman. A special sign and font identify each person or group of people involved (for instance, "paleontologist" is in the shape of a bone) and each double-page spread adds a name to the repeated list. The faux-naif, softly colored illustrations help make the process clear and fascinating. At the end, the author supplies "A Little Bit of Dino Info" that covers what a fossil is, tells about the Diplodocus, and offers background information on some of the real people involved, along with a couple of websites about dinosaur digs. This attractive behind-the-scenes look at a museum will intrigue dinosaur fans and any curious young museum-goer, too. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—As she did in How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (Blue Apple, 2010), Hartland takes readers behind the scenes, this time at the Smithsonian Museum, as a newly discovered Diplodocus is unearthed in Utah, transported to Washington, DC, assembled, and prepared for display. On the opening spread, a docent shares general background information on the dinosaur exhibit as a young boy asks "So, how did the dinosaur actually get to the museum?" A second spread of vignettes covers the 65 million years of geologic change leading up to 1923, the year the fossil was discovered. A cumulative recitation of the story behind the exhibit completes the story line. From "dinosaur hunter" to "director," more than a dozen roles are described and then added to a growing list in a pattern mimicking the classic "The House That Jack Built." Each job is highlighted with a unique font and decorative text box evocative of the role. The illustrations are expressive, childlike cartoons but careful readers will find plenty to pore over. Back matter provides background on the particular dinosaur, the real people involved, stats on the Diplodocus, and web links to the museum and quarry, now known as Dinosaur National Monument. A clear explanation is never given for "double-beamed bones" in the background information but young dinosaur hunters won't be deterred.—Carol S. Surges, Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI
Kirkus Reviews
This cumulative narrative follows the journey of a set of dinosaur bones belonging to a Diplodocus longus that lived 145 million years ago to its present home in the display halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. A companion to How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (2010), it similarly describes the work of many hands involved, here starting with the dinosaur hunter who discovered the bones and the paleontologist who went to Utah to identify them and culminating with the museum director who opened the exhibit. What's special is the reminder of the wide range of tasks involved. The excavators, movers, preparators, curator, night watchman, welders, riggers, exhibits team and cleaner all have their parts. Hartland emphasizes this with her House-That-Jack-Built text, in which each job title has a special capital-letter font, color and background ("CLEANERS" is shown on a scrubbing-brush background, for instance). Her verbs are interestingly varied, as are the many things these people do. The text is printed on double-page illustrations, painted in a childlike manner but detailed enough to show all the people and activities. Backmatter includes a bit of dinosaur information and more about the actual discovery and the display at the museum, including some suggested websites. An excellent complement to any dinosaur-book collection, this enriches and extends that interest. (Informational picture book. 6-10)
Pamela Paul
…both informative and accessible, and far from museum-diorama-boring. Hartland includes spots of humor, and her illustrations are dynamic, with just enough detail. At the same time, the text is factual and avoids the too-much-information pitfall that plagues so much nonfiction aimed at young readers. Best of all, this book opens up the workings of a science museum without resorting to special effects. After reading it, the kid who yawned his way through the last school visit may find himself longing to become a museum exhibit planner. If not Ben Stiller.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609050900
  • Publisher: Blue Apple Books
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 517,884
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD1280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessie Hartland is an illustrator, cartoonist, artist, packaging designer, and window display designer with a worldwide clientele. She is the author and illustrator of Clementine in the City and the illustrator of Messing Around on the Monkey Bars, The Perfect Puppy for Me and Drawing with Scissors. She lives with her family in New York City and Bellport, Long Island. The author lives in New York, NY.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2011

    Dinosaurs are incredible!

    This is a great book for read-aloud and for individual readers. The illustrations are fun to look at and the text is fun, yet fact-filled.

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