________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 13 . . . . February 22, 2008


Dinosaur Provincial Park. (Wonders of Canada).

Galadriel Watson.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2008.
24 pp., hardcover, $22.95.
ISBN 978-1-55388-391-3.

Subject Headings:
Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alta.)-Juvenile literature.
World Heritage areas-Alberta-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-6 / Ages 6-12.

Review by Ruth McMahon.

**** /4


Imagine driving across southern Alberta. The highway stretches straight before you. The flat, prairie grassland that lines the road reaches far into the distance. Suddenly, the landscape changes. The road heads down into a valley. Hoodoos rise from the ground in fantastical shapes. Steep, striped cliffs reveal ancient rocks. Cave-like sinkholes, deep ruts, and rocks that look like popcorn dot the ground.

Before settlers came to Alberta, the Blackfoot were great hunters and fierce warriors. They drove other First Nations groups from the land. They were also natural explorers. The Blackfoot knew of the dinosaur bones in what is now Dinosaur Provincial Park. They believed these bones were the remains of bison ancestors. The Blackfoot honoured these remains, offering them gifts and asking them for help during hunts.


Dinosaur Provincial Park is a great overview and yet amazingly detailed for its 24 pages. As you can see from the first excerpt, the book sets the scene for your arrival to the park. It goes on to tell of the park's UNESCO World Heritage Site status and gives the location geographically with a map noting other tourist attractions in Alberta. To set the scene for what you would find today in the park, the book tells of what it would have looked like 75 million years ago. The next section gives some brief details on the two most influential people involved in the park, Joseph Tyrell and Charles Sternberg.

     In the centre of the book, there is a two page spread locating the 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites that exist in Canada. This is helpful as it puts the magnitude of this locale into perspective. A discussion of some of the unique wildlife to be found at the park in this century as well as the inhabitants of 75 million years ago is next.

     As illustrated in the second excerpt, there is a discussion of the connection between the First Nations groups and the dinosaur bones as well, and there is some history of the early settlers. The philosophical and political issues surrounding the difficulties inherent in managing a world heritage site are set up for discussion. And finally, there is an activity on how to make your own imprint and cast fossils.

     Dinosaur Provincial Park is presented with engaging colour photographs and illustrations. The glossary and index at the end make it even more 'user friendly.' For further research, the reader is often directed to appropriate websites.

     Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of my most favorite spots on earth, and I think this book does an excellent job of describing the physical beauty, the magical history and the fragile environment. The only story missing from this book that I noticed was why the area is called the badlands.

     Dinosaur Provincial Park is a must for all libraries and for the dinosaur fanatic. I think teachers will find this virtually a ready made lesson plan.

Highly Recommended.

Ruth McMahon, who lives in Lethbridge, AB, is a professional children's librarian, storyteller, co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Children's Choice Book Award, and the mother of two elementary school aged children.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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