The Day I Discovered a Dinosaur Bone?! (Adventures of the Barnyard Boys)
Written by M Larson, Illustrated by R Ghosh
Published by M Larson Books
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$12.99 ISBN 978-1-9992683-0-5
Many children of a certain age go through a “dinosaur phase” – a period when they’re passionate about the magnificent creatures that roamed the earth 70 million years ago. I remember taking my own children to Drumheller’s Tyrell Museum when they were young. In Saskatchewan, dinosaur aficionados can visit the T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend or The Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina to learn about all-things-dinosaur, and meet Scotty, the life-sized Tyrannosaurus rex models. They could also pick up a copy of Melanie Larson’s latest illustrated children’s book, The Day I Discovered a Dinosaur Bone?! (Adventures of the Barnyard Boys), and tag along with brothers Finn, Owen and Dez as they search for – and find – something interesting in the Saskatchewan hillsides.
After watching their “favourite dinosaur movie,” six-year-old Finn and his brothers are inspired to unearth fossils too. “I bet we have a short-necked plesiosaur right in our own backyard!” Finn says. The boys go to work, but unfortunately their digging only results in the discovery of “an old, broken toy truck”. Undaunted, the trio also search the beach – no luck there – then their grandparents’ ranch, where Finn digs up a “bone” that is “so big that it would not fit inside [the] van!” The family decides to take the discovery – strapped to the van’s roof – to the dinosaur museum. What has Finn found? (No spoilers!)
As with her earlier title, The Day I Lost My Bear in Cypress Hills, Larson again includes many “Fun facts” in this cheery book. Among other interesting trivia, readers learn about dinosaur discoveries near Herschel, Ponteix, and Carrot River, SK, and that “In 1874, the first dinosaur fossil was found in Grasslands National Park” by geologist George Dawson. Children will also have fun locating the twelve bird, animal and insect images at the end of the book within the previous pages. Did you know that “the official word for dinosaur poop” is coprolite? Me neither!
The story’s filled with dinosaur names – always fun to say – like Triceratops, Mosasaurus, Troodon and Ankylosaurus. I enjoyed the humour in the book, as well. When the museum’s paleontologist tells the boy’s that what they’ve found may be “more than 65 million years old,” Finn says: “It’s as old as Grandpa!”
There’s book-to-book continuity regarding the playful illustrations, which feature lots of colour, big-eyed characters, and a few details that demonstrate the prairie flora and fauna, ie: prairie lilies. I appreciated the bold, easy-to-read black font against white pages, and the book’s quality production will hold up well against small hands and smudges.
Larson lives in Simmie, south of Swift Current, and works as an Environmental Consultant. Another of her five titles is Count Them! 50 Tractor Troubles, and I expect we’ll continue to see her brand – fun, educational stories featuring these three adventurous brothers and their family – in future books, as well. This tale’s sure to bring joy to any budding little archeologists in your life. For more information, visit the author’s website at mlarsonbooks.com.
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM