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Janet Stewart
Illustrated by Chris Walker

Burlington (Ont.), Hayes Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0-88625-235-0 (paper) $5.95, 0-88625-234-2 (cloth) $13.95.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 8-11
Reviewed by Joan Skogan.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

The Dinosaurs attempts to provide background information on the dinosaurs and their era along with enough drama about the disappearance of the dinosaurs to fascinate young readers.

The indroduction to the earth's age, the beginning of life-forms, and the discovery of dinosaur fossils is well organized and Janet Stewart's writing is clear and occasionally evocative: "About one hundred million years ago (the latter third, or Cretaceous part, of teh Mesozoic era), the world began to be a bright, beautiful place as the first plants and flowers, with their reds, yellows and purples, appeared."

The description of scientific order and species given in The Dinosaurs would require more explanation for most young readers. As well, the book occasionally alters its emphasis on both established and emerging scientific theories about dinosaurs. The section titled "Going on a Fossil Hunt" implies that any child with a hammer can find a fossil anywhere, while the discussion on the cataclysmic theories concerning the extinction of dinosaurs focusses on "Planet X" and the "Death Star."

Chris Walker's illustrations vary from glorious, when he's given a double-page spread to show the Saurischian dinosaurs or Tyrannosaurus Rex with a baseball-capped boy clutching its ankle, to the more ordinary in the smaller layouts.

The Dinosaurs seems best suited to the classroom, perhaps as reference material. Teachers offering students one of their first experiences with science will be pleased with the inclusion of developing theories about the life of dinosaurs as well as their extinction, and with the map and description of dinosaurs fossil finds in the Alberta Badlands.

Joan Skogan, Vancouver, B.C.
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