By Ted Enik
Pixel Mouse House, $12.99, 34 pages
You’ve heard of the Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus. And when your little readers learns about dinosaurs in school, they’ll find out about the Allosaurus, Dimetrodon and Camarasaurus. But will he or she learn about Edward D. Cope and O. Charles Marsh, two of America’s greatest Bone Hunters, who unearthed the fossils of a “Watchumacaurus,” “Thingamasaurus” and a “Pretendon?” Just in case their teachers don’t cover “The Bone Wars” in class, your kids can read all about the rivalry between Cope and March to be the best Bone Hunter in Ted Enik’s book Sticks n’ Stones n’ Dinosaur Bones.
Illustrator G.F. Newland and Ted Enik have teamed up to write the “Unhinged History” series and this story is a whimsical tale. Newland’s illustrations are great – browns and tans dominate the pages which brings readers right into the story and makes them feel like they are part of the archeological digs. The clothing characters wear harkens back to older days and readers with observant eyes will be transported to the late 1800s.
The writing is excellent. Enik tells the story of the rivalry in verse. Kids may need help from a handy dictionary to look up new words or the assistance of an adult to help figure out how to tackle some of the more challenging stanzas. Adults will find the saga just as fascinating as children. Two paleontologists, backed by their Universities, set off to find the biggest and best fossils in the West. Unfortunately, fame made them greedy and even though they did find legitimate fossils and advanced the science of Paleontology, they lied, cheated and invented dinos like the “Pretendon” only to find themselves in ruin and out of jobs. The book is a fun read for kids, adults, teachers and their students. It also contains a good moral to discuss.
The next time you go to a Natural History Museum, be prepared to spend more time in the dinosaur exhibit hall. Keep an eye out for Marsh and Cope’s names and the dinosaurs they really did discover!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin
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