This first book in Ted Enik and G.F Newland's "Unhinged History" series is a ripping yarn - full of adventure and deceit - that brings to life the best-known public spat in all of paleontology: the bitter rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh that became known as "The Bone Wars." Lively and witty rhymes plus beautifully demented illustrations by Newland reveal how the paleontologists' infamous rivalry began and how their mutual obsession with outdoing and ruining one another spun out of control.
Stick 'n' Stones 'n' Dinosaur Bones is what I usually characterize as a picture book for older readers. This one is unique in that it can appeal on several levels. It's Seussian, sing-song nature and humorous illustrations will entertain even children too young to understand the book's overall concept. It will attract kids interested in paleontology—and aren't all kids interested in paleontology at some point? And finally, it's useful in introducing the subject of information literacy.
The crazy one-upmanship and outright lies of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh may be fodder for laughs and entertainment, but it's useful to point out that belief in outlandish claims is nothing new in American history. One need only look to today's internet, television, and newspaper articles to see rampant and competing claims of "fake news!" What's an educated news consumer to believe?
Sticks 'n' Stones 'n' Dinosaur Bones can be an educational or cautionary tale about the need to investigate news sources and shun sensationalism. Remember, the "Bone Wars" was not the only time that a gullible populace has fallen for exaggerated, overblown, or downright false claims. Jim Murphy's book, The Giant and how he Humbugged America (Scholastic, 2012) and Candace Fleming's The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum (Schwartz & Wade, 2009), are two stellar books for older readers that spotlight the gullibility of the general public and the great lengths that people will take to exploit it.
I can't wait to see what topic will be tackled next in the "Unhinged History" series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
From the publisher:
My copy of Sticks 'n' Stones 'n' Dinosaur Bones was provided by the publisher.
Note: This book trailer was created by a previous publisher.