cover image Dinosaur Dig

Dinosaur Dig

Kathryn Lasky. Morrow Junior Books, $13.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08574-2

What child hasn't dreamed of discovering a dinosaur fossil? Lasky and Knight, the Newbery Honor-winning creators of Sugaring Time, have collaborated on an engrossing photo-essay about the family vacation of a lifetime--a dinosaur dig. Lasky has twice before mined the subjects of paleontology/anthropology in The Bone Wars (a YA historical novel) and Traces of Life: The Originals of Humankind (a survey of hominid research) but neither of those earlier works can match this perfect marriage of text and photos for intensity and excitement. Lasky deftly weaves a myriad of scientific facts about the earth's geologic life and the Mesozoic Era into a fascinating trip's diary (with six other families) to the bone-rich buttes of the Montana Badlands. Kids will connect with the immediacy of the experience and be mesmerized by the text's vivid, almost poetic, descriptions of the hot, dry dig coupled with Knight's stunning color photos. Featuring the children as equal partners with the adults, the photos both enlarge and reinforce the information in the text. They dramatically convey the complete absorption of the dig participants as they labor in the 100+ degree heat under the dome of Montana's big sky. The excitement is palpable when the bones found are tentatively identified as those of a Triceratops by paleontologist Keith Rigby. This is an irresistible behind-the-scenes look at field paleontologists at work. Ages 8-up. (Mar.)