Monday, February 25, 2008

The Discovery and Mystery of a Dinosaur Named Jane by Judith Williams

Nonfiction Monday:
The Discovery and Mystery of a Dinosaur Named Jane by Judith Williams

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Inc. (March 1, 2007)

Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with dinosaurs and paleontology. I often wondered what it would feel like to be the scientist who discovered a dinosaur after grueling work. Well, The Discovery and Mystery of a Dinosaur Named Jane finally gives me some insight.

The book begins with paleontologists and volunteers from the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois discovering a toe bone while digging in Montana. It was unfortunately, the end of their season, so they covered up the site where they were digging, hoping that no one else found the rest of the dinosaur until they could come back the NEXT YEAR!

Luckily, the site was untouched, and they were able to dig up the bones of a magnificent dinosaur who they named Jane. But what kind of Dinosaur is Jane? They believe she’s a tyrannosaur, but is she a nanotyrannus or an infamous T-Rex? Or is she a new species altogether? One thing is clear—this is an amazing discovery and the biggest one yet for the small museum.

Judith Williams gives a detailed description of the laborious work the paleontologists performed to successfully dig up the dinosaur bones. Readers even get a glimpse of the common tools paleontologists use. Once the bones are removed and transported back to the museum, readers learn all of the work that was involved with cleaning, repairing, and putting the bones together and all of the research required to determine what type of dinosaur Jane is.

What’s refreshing about this book is that it’s different than the typical kid’s book that features glorious images of dinosaurs and awe-inspiring facts. Instead, it’s a book that really focuses on the discovery of a dinosaur and gives readers insight into the hard work that’s involved in getting a magnificent dinosaur on display in a museum. Children will learn to respect this work along with the creature that one roamed the earth.

With interesting pictures and photographs of the dig site and of the work in progress, this is a great find for a kid who is interested in dinosaurs and paleontology. Heavier on text than pictures, it’s more suitable for a proficient reader.

Check out the rest of Nonfiction Monday submissions at Picture Book of the Day.

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