Jason C. Poole
Dinosaur Hall Fossil Prep Lab Manager and Teacher Naturalist, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
"Great information, fun activities and DINOSAURS! It is so cool to see a book like
this that is not out dated or full of miss information."
Collection Manager and Fossil Preparator, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum
"Finally, a dinosaur book for children written by someone with a background in
paleontology! Kids will have hours of fun and absorb current and accurate information
about the ancient world at the same time. The Dinosaur Learning Activity Book is win-win!"
Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology and Chief Preparator, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
"A cute, simple and fun way to learn what dinosaur paleontologists do.I highly
recommend this book to parents and their young grade-schoolers."
Jerry D. Harris, Ph.D.
Director of Paleontology, Dixie State College
"A valuable and fun resource to introduce children to many aspects of dinosaur science."
Andrew B. Heckert, Ph.D.
Director of the McKinney Geological Teaching Museum at Appalachian State University
"Mr. Habiger has created an exciting activity book packed with information. The best
part of this book is that it provides not just the same information found in other books;
instead there is a great deal of effort to show how paleontologists discover that
information and use it."
Seth Walters (Age 13), Aidan Stansbury (Age 10), and Scott Stansbury review from Fossil News, Journal of
Avocational Paleontology, Dec 2006 Vol 12, Issue 12.
"When Lynne wrote to ask if my children would be interested in reviewing a kid-orientated
dinosaur activity book, I thought sure, my boy likes dinosaurs as much as the next kid. No
problem. The task was based on two errors of thinking. The first was that I have some influence
over my children, when in fact they view any task I give them as if they had to rebuild the
Chinese Wall. The second error is that I have some influence over my children, which is the
opposite of the above in that my son can get so paranoid about my opinion that for him to
actually put out ideas must feel like the common dream of being nude in public. After
struggling with this reality over three weeks, I just settled into the calm drum-beat of
pressure on my son, "How's that review coming along?" - to which the appropriate response is
evidently to avoid eye contact and shrug, something he may have learned from "Jeremy" of
"Zits" cartoon fame.
Finally, I came up with a foolproof plan. My son was to spend the night with an older
friend, and I suggested that they both work on the review together. To guarantee I got more
than blank looks, I threw in incentives. I would give them CANDY if they finished the
review?or at least wrote comments on the pages. "What kind?" "A good kind. Lots of it." I
left them that night, busy at work.
"Sweet cover," started Seth. Pictures meant a lot to Seth, having been raised on dinosaurs
brought to life in digital on the Big Screen and TV in ways that make the Claymation of my
youth look like 8-track technology. "But kids today want to see the dinosaur eating another
one. Add more teeth and a supermodel, and you'd have a hit at the box office." In his comments,
he drew on the constant theme, "They will look at the pictures but not the words." Seth was
concerned constantly by the idea of hooking kids into the book, but felt that it did not do
that enough. On a page illustrating Riojasaurus he commented, "Kids like carnivores more,
but put a human in proportion and it might spark more interest." On a map showing where to
find dinosaurs, he wrote, "Huh? Many kids don't know the difference between North America
and the USA?this (page) would be in code." On vocabulary, a page with "ischium, pubis,
and ilium," he said, "Most kids wouldn't know what these words mean." Any page that talked
about tools or "dinosaur stance" got comments like, "Kids wouldn't be interested, they want
dino pictures." Seth is a brutal realist, not unlike most 13-year-olds. On a page that talks
about where to find dinosaurs, he comments, "Nobody cares where you would find them, only
if you find them." Point taken, Seth. It may be time to take you out on some fieldwork.
Aidan was a little more forgiving in his assessment. "I like all the facts on the
dinosaur pictures," he said. "I like the different games, like find-the-words, crosswords,
dot-to-dots, and mazes. They're interesting and fun." He liked the dinosaur world map and
wasn't pessimistic about the average American child's lack of world understanding. He said,
"It's good. I like to see where they lived." He thought the book would be "good for people
who don't know what a paleontologist is." He thought the earth day clock helped to understand
how long ago dinosaurs lived. He also thought it was interesting how many creatures we think
are dinosaurs weren't, like Edaphosaurus, Ichthyosaurus, and Pteranodon. Finally, not afraid
to step into controversy, Aidan said, "The book talks about different ways that dinosaurs
died, but I think it was the meteor that killed them." An opinion is a good place to start,
if you keep your eyes and ears open.
Probably the best measure of the Dinosaur Learning Activity Book is that two young men
messed around with it for an hour or so on a Friday night sleepover when I'm sure there were
other things to do. One has to hope that that indicates that there was more to the book than:
kids will do anything for CANDY.
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