July 21, 2010
The Search for Antarctic Dinosaurs by Sally M. Walker
When I think Antarctica, I don’t tend to think fossils so I picked this title up initially because it surprised me.
It tells about the work of paleontologist William Hammer and his crew as they excavate fossils for study in the United States. With the bitter cold of Antarctica, field seasons are only weeks long. In addition to discussing the work of the paleontologists, Walker tells about their gear as well as the dangers of working in the extreme cold.
Hammer knew he had the major portion of a skeleton but not what it was. Imagine having to wait months for shipping containers just to find out what you had found! Back in Illinois, they cleaned the fossils and realized that they had found something entirely new — Cryolophosaurus ellioti, frozen crested lizard, the first dinosaur to be found on mainland Antarctica. Amazingly, other materials found with the remains provided a rare insight into how this particular animal died.
This may be a beginning reader but at 50 pages and with specialized vocabulary, it wouldn’t be suitable for a brand new reader. Still, kids enthusiastic for dinosaurs will take the time to puzzle through the well-written text.
I love finding a non-fiction beginning reader that is well written and this one certainly fits that requirement.