Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan

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Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: This is the book for children for whom dinosaurs are a true passion rather than a passing phase. Written for older children, this is serious science, and the best book in this genre I have ever found.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 204 Date: September 2004
Publisher: Invisible Cities Press
ISBN: 978-1931229357

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Most children go through a dinosaur phase, but there are always a few children who are completely captivated by dinosaurs - and everything that goes with them. This is the most detailed palaeontology book for children I have ever found. This book is written for older children, even teens who may wish to seriously consider palaeontology as a career choice. The book begins, not with dinosaurs, but with science. The book explains how science works. It presents science, not as a set of facts, but of theories and ideas that are subject to change. Science becomes a living and fluid thing rather than a stuffy set facts to memorise. Reading this book, I can almost forget how much I hated science as a child.

It is written specifically for older children (9 - 14) which is unusual in itself, but the major difference is the focus. This book is not so much about dinosaurs, but about the people who study them. In short, if you want a book about flesh and blood dinosaurs, this is not for you. But if you want to learn everything about the bones, the rocks and the physical evidence left behind by these majestic creatures this is worth taking a look at. There is nothing at all on individual species of dinosaurs, how they lived, or what they looked like with skin. This is all about skeletons, how they are discovered, excavated, transported and reassembled, as well as the debates about what each new find really means.

I loved this book from the moment I set eyes on it. It has a complete wealth of information, and teaches so much about science as well as palaeontology. It really gives you an idea what the job would be like and I learned quite a bit from this myself. It is written to children, and this is quite clear when the author is joking about brothers and parents, but it is highly informative for all ages. It is a bit text-heavy for children below the recommended age, but it does explain things so clearly that even a young child can understand perfectly. Thanks to this book my 5 year old can easily tell the difference between a type 1 and type 2 fossil, a concept I originally found confusing myself. This is an excellent resource which we have come back to time and time again over the years. My oldest was only 6 when we first bought it, and at times I did feel that he was a bit too young for it, but he still enjoyed it, as his brother does. Now that he is a couple of years older, his appreciation for this book has grown immensely and it is now a firm favourite, guaranteed to send him off researching one topic after another.

The only real downside to this book is the fact that it is American, which means all the fossil dig sites are American and the laws pertaining to fossil ownership are also American. This is only a small part of the book as a whole. These small issues can easily be supplemented with an online search. I would still recommend this to British parents as the best possible book for children with an interest in palaeontology. I do own every single children's palaeontology book I have found and this is by far the best. This is also the only one which I would find suitable for teens as well as for children. Even if your child is now entering university - if they are considering career in palaeontology, this book is a must have. But even for children with a limited interest in the subject, this is an excellent book to teach science in general as well. I would certainly recommend this to any home educator, whether your child has a serious interest in fossils or not.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend:

Why Evolution is True by Jerry A Coyne

Predators by Steve Backshall

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Buy Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bones Rock by Peter L Larson and Kristin Donnan at


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