I must admit that Dinomummy’s groan-inducing title bugged me when I first saw the book in a pile of others that my kids had checked out from the library. I was picturing a velociraptor wrapped in bandages terrorizing Egyptian archaeologists who had disturbed it’s ancient tomb.
Nothing of the sort.
Dinomummy is a non-fiction book for kids about the discovery of a complete hadrosaur fossil named Dakota. This wasn’t just an ordinary hadrosaur; it was one of the only dinosaurs discovered with fossilized soft tissue and scales. Very cool.
The story is told first hand by lead paleontologist (and author) Dr. Phillip Manning, who is creative enough to immerse the reader in the final days of Dakota’s probable life. The book is similar to a Discovery Channel documentary in the way that it offers a possible storyline that imagines the hadrosaur’s past. The prehistoric illustrations are reminiscent of a well-done television documentary, almost as if the designs were modeled in CGI.
The modern pictures of the actual researchers are crisp high definition shots that are well-placed within the narrative. They offer a true visual aid for some bits of the book that children might find challenging (boring).
The book was just simple enough that my four year old could follow it, but advanced enough that it taught me quite a few things about paleontology and dinosaurs. My daughters were entranced by the pictures and story, and they did not grow tired of the book, though it was a bit long for their age.
If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for a little dinosaur fanatic, this book should be high on your list. Be sure to list some of your favorites in the comments section. I’d like to hear your suggestions.