After an introduction that compares paleoanthropology to a detective story, six chapters feature dinosaurs finds in Mongolia, the ocean, Argentina, Africa, Madagascar, and the Canadian Arctic through the eyes of well-known paleoanthropologists. A seventh chapter provides information for students interested in a paleontology career. The vivid text will draw students in; for example, "Imagine a life that requires you to travel to faraway and remote places every year: to camp in the wilderness, sample foreign cultures, and fight the elements of nature while discovering traces of long-extinct life" (p. eleven). Despite the twelfth grade reading level, most students interested in the subject would probably be able to handle the content-specific, multi-syllabic words (e.g., expedition, vertebrates). The author gives an excellent explanation of how fossils are formed and details the pros and cons of expeditions in unexplored terrain. The hardships and fellowship, the griminess and glory, the routine challenges and surprise discoveries are described. Chapter notes, glossary, further reading and Internet addresses, and an index round out back matter. Colored photos and sidebars, lots of white space, and dark serif font combine to present a readable book; and the colorful simulated rubber-stamp look of page numbers and headings suggest a by-gone appearance that complements the topic. Highly recommended as a resource that readily fits into middle school science standards. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Mary Bowman-Kruhm
Gr 5–8—An introduction to paleontological careers via the work of a half-dozen real-time fossil hunters digging away from Mongolia to Madagascar. The six men and women featured are passionate about their jobs and their finds, sharing their enthusiasm (and some good career advice) in personal quotes. Enhanced by full-color photos, well researched, and anchored by numerous chapter notes, but a tad dry in tone, this volume will appeal to dinophiles for its dino-data as well as to adventurers dreaming of an Indiana Jones-style career, battling sandstorms and coping with incoming tides. Green information boxes scattered about cover such topics as continental drift and the care and transport of fossils from field to lab. A chapter on preparing for a career in paleontology is appended.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY