School Library JournalGr 5-7-Of all the theories about dinosaur extinction, the giant meteorite scenario-with its visions of a titanic explosion, huge ocean waves, months or years of darkness under planetwide clouds of dust, and drastic climatic changes-is certainly both the most exciting and the easiest to understand. Vogt describes the 1973 discovery of the K-T boundary, a thin band of 65-million-year-old sedimentary rock found in several places around the world, with different fossils above and below it. The subsequent search for a crater of proper size and age pointed up the fact that our planet has endured major-league collisions several times in the past-and could at any time in the future, too. The author continues with a discussion of the rather desultory search for likely candidates, known as near-Earth objects. He barely mentions competing theories or the objections to this one, and the narrative is padded fore and aft with dramatizations, but the presentation is clear, organized, and illustrated with realistic paintings and large, full-color photographs. A brief but wide-ranging book that deserves a place in both large and small collections.-John Peters, New York Public Library
Carolyn PhelanThe slight sensationalism of the title is reflected in the fictionalized beginning and ending chapters of the book. The initial drama concerns a little duck-billed dinosaur that is about to be attacked by a Tyrannosaurus rex, when the shadow of a huge asteroid distracts T. rex and saves the day . . . temporarily. The last chapter, called "A Glimpse of the Future," though it's written in the past tense, reports on a mission in space to deflect the direction of an asteroid that's on course to collide with Earth. Sandwiched between these stories, which one can only hope children will recognize as fiction, is a clear, readable account of the theory that dinosaurs died out as the result of an asteroid collision 65 million years ago. Vogt ably describes scientists' worldwide search for a likely crater and discusses the possibility of another large asteroid impact on Earth, though readers may want more information than they'll find here. A flawed but still intriguing presentation of space collisions as well as their possible once-and-future consequences for life on Earth. Glossary; suggested reading.
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