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Gross, Renie.

Saskatoon, Western Producer Prairie Books, n.d. 128pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88833-121-5. CIP

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Janice Foster

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

As the Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology opens just north of Drumheller this September, it is appropriate that Dinosaur Country is available to provide further insight into the prehistoric past of the Badlands. The author, Renie Gross, in her very personal preface, explains her fascination with this region as a child and her decision to write this book to help understand her present day surroundings and its former inhabitants, the dinosaurs. Although this is her first book, Gross has evidently researched the material well as indicated by the acknowledgements and the picture credits. Her list of books and articles for suggested further reading allows the reader to delve more deeply into any particular topic.

Dinosaur Country has a wide range of appeal. Not only does it deal with the ever popular subject of dinosaurs, it also focuses on the Canadian geological phenomenon, the Badlands of the Red Deer River valley. Anyone who has travelled to this part of the country has certainly been as impressed as the author with the magic of this region. This book, particularly in the initial two chapters, explains the geological events that resulted in the Badlands being one of the world's important repositories of Cretaceous life. This information provides the setting for the main characters, the dinosaurs. The author proceeds to discuss four major classifications of dinosaurs found in this area, their lifestyles, and the possible reasons for their extinction. A further chapter, "The Creation of the Badlands," details the formation of this eroded landscape. The narrative concludes with an account of the people responsible for the geological explorations of this region, particularly during the "Great Canadian -Dinosaur Rush" at the beginning of this century.

Little has previously been written for the non-scientist about this area. In an easy-flowing narrative, Renie Gross enables the reader to grasp some of its complexity, described by the early French fur traders as "mauvaises terre a traverser," (bad lands to cross). Through the clarity of her definitions and explanations one can appreciate the artistry of this region's landscape and marvel at the creatures who roamed over it so long ago.

Dinosaur Country provides the reader with "the stuff of imagination" in a real world; the Canadian West. The well-indexed information, which deals specifically with material relevant to the Alberta Badlands and those dinosaurs that inhabited this area, brings the topic of prehistoric life closer to home for Canadian students of all ages. This book also serves as an excellent source of background data for anyone travelling to this part of Canada, and the descriptions of the region have a tour guide flavour to them. This interesting account of the Canadian Badlands, complemented by maps, charts, and pictures, will definitely appeal to students, tourists, geography enthusiasts, or anyone interested in the prehistoric past.

Janice Foster, Winnipeg, Man.
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