March 25, 2016

Dinosaurs in the desert

Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews got his start cleaning the floors at the American Museum of Natural HIstory. A few months later, he managed to land his first expedition - retrieving the bones of a beached whale. His success led to other expeditions around the world, earning him much acclaim. So when he had the idea of searching for human fossils in Mongolia, he was able to raise the necessary funds. With the help of paleontologist Walter Granger and his assistant George Olsen, he didn't find human bones, he found dinosaur bones instead!

These two books tell the story of his Gobi Desert expeditions and the amazing discoveries he made there.

Dinosaurs at the Ends of the Earth: The Story of the Central Asiatic Expeditions
by Brian Floca

A fictionalized version, this text-heavy picture book dramatizes two of the expeditions, one of which resulted in the discovery of dinosaur eggs. Floca's imagined dialogue and action is very well done, giving the story a "you-are-there" feel to it. He also does a good job in describing the how the fossils were excavated and prepared for transport.

A map and full-page paintings add excitement. Of note are descriptions of the dinosaurs uncovered, which are depicted on the front and back endpapers.

Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs: A Photobiography of Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews
by Ann Bausum

Published by National Geographic, this book describes the childhood and career of Roy Chapman Andrews, shedding light on what made the man tick. It's also a good primer on how to get your foot in the door when trying to land your dream job. Lots of photos and exciting descriptions bring the dinosaur expeditions to life. It gives the reader a good idea of how the expeditions were mounted and carried out. It also provides a good sense of the dangers encountered along the way, from sandstorms to snakes to bandits. 

With chronology, resource guide, and index, this is an excellent book for elementary and middle-grade readers. 

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