Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age by Deborah Kogan Ray
Ray returns with another great picture book biography. This time she turns her talents to the story of Earl Douglass and the “Bone Wars” of the turn of the century where paleontologists competed to find the big dinosaur skeletons. Though the biggest finds had been made in Colorado and Wyoming, Douglass followed his instincts and headed to northeastern Utah. The book chronicles his discoveries as he worked the site through prose as well as excerpts from his personal letters. It also tells of the problems with protecting the area and funding that Douglass faced later in his career and that culminated in Woodrow Wilson creating the Dinosaur National Monument.
Ray’s writing is an invitation to learn more. Filled with interesting and enticing facts, she tells the story of the person as well as the accomplishments. Children will love the details about how a dig site works and the excitement of the big finds. They will also learn about the importance of doing what you love and following your gut instinct.
Ray’s art adds much to story, from detailed explanations of Jurassic strata and paleontology tools to her larger paintings that tell the story of discovery. Her large vistas bring the setting clearly to life too. The book ends with a listing of the dinosaurs found at the site, a map of the Monument, more information on Douglass and his benefactor Andrew Carnegie, a glossary, and a bibliography.
Highly recommended, this book will be enjoyed by children who enjoy dinosaurs and history. Ideal for reading before visiting the Dinosaur National Monument, this book can also be used to inspire children to make their own discoveries about the world around them. Appropriate for ages 7-10.
Reviewed from copy received from Farrar Straus Giroux.