cover image How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

Jessie Hartland. Blue Apple (Random, dist.), $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-60905-090-0

An efficient and entertaining mix of science, history, and humor, Hartland’s follow-up to How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (2010) turns a young museum-goer’s question—“So, how did the dinosaur actually get to the museum?”—into a multilayered explanation. As in the previous book, Hartland combines a “House That Jack Built” structure with playful typography and her always appealing naïf aesthetic. Based on the true backstory of an 87-foot dinosaur skeleton on exhibit at the Smithsonian, Hartland’s story begins with the drowning of an unlucky diplodocus. A bone catches the eye of a grizzled dinosaur hunter 145 million years later, setting in motion a fascinating chain of tasks that gets the fossil ready for its big museum unveiling. Readers meet paleontologists, excavators, preparators, riggers, and welders, with each profession getting an evocative typographic nameplate to heighten the cumulative fun (“Dinosaur Hunter” is in a Wild West typeface, while “Welders” looks like it’s cut from steel). Hartland’s spreads are impressively and often humorously detailed—from the tools and plans on the workroom walls to the Fig Newtons on the curator’s desk. Ages 6–up. (Nov.)