A Time Traveller's Field Notes and Observations of Dinosaurs by Gordon Volk
|A Time Traveller's Field Notes and Observations of Dinosaurs by Gordon Volk|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A girl and her time machine set up a franchise in superbly-produced educational adventures with a replica of fictional nature reports from the dangerous days of the dinosaurs.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: August 2008|
Henrietta, a girl living through World War One, finds her father's time machine, and the alien power crystal that runs it. Therefore, with only one trial run, she immediately decides to buy some survival gear and camp out literally under the feet of dinosaurs. She takes a total of three extended trips to various parts of prehistory, and what we get is the result.
In actual fact what we have is a lovely replica of a volume of field notes and observations, as the title has it. The pages are splashed all over with asides and footnotes (which all actually read much more fluently than would at first appear possible), and the lovely colour pictures this most talented of time travellers has created.
I certainly did open it asking why a parent would choose to buy this volume and not an encyclopaedia concerning dinosaurs, but this book certainly has its merits. It creates a good sense of fun, and I think if anything the fact the narrative is in the form of journal notes, and is therefore less straightforward and fluid, might actually allow for more re-reading than otherwise. It remains a superlatively put-together volume, with a moving image on the front featuring four stages (I don't think I've ever seen that before), an admirably plush padded binding, a ribbon bookmark, and a very authentic styling.
For the adults the book will be over very quickly, and the plotting will be scoffed at – the touches on high drama, and the contrivance of the time machine allowing the girl to travel from her English village so she can arrive bang on time and have a first-hand view of the K/T boundary event that helped kill most of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, which of course was off the coast of Central America. However for the target audience, that of the under tens, the book provides great entertainment, and a huge dollop of satisfying wish-fulfilment.
The first sequel, set in Egyptian days, is plugged too much at the end, but this volume, as high as the RRP is, remains an educational entertainment, is good for future browsing and inquisitive re-use, and so is recommended by the Bookbag. For the right reader this book deserves the four and a half stars we hereby give it, which are given alongside our thanks to the publishers, Quest, for sending us a review copy.
A more non-fictional approach to dinosaurs can be had with If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon which we also recommend.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A Time Traveller's Field Notes and Observations of Dinosaurs by Gordon Volk at Amazon.com.
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