CAVE DETECTIVES by David L. Harrison


Unraveling the Mystery of an Ice Age Cave
by & illustrated by & photographed by
Age Range: 10 - 12
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The author’s strenuous efforts to pump up the excitement aren’t particularly successful, but there’s enough intrinsic drama to carry readers along in this account of the discovery and early exploration of Missouri’s Riverbluff Cave, the oldest found so far in this country with fossil remains. Found by a road-building crew in 2001, the cave has yielded not only spectacular mineral formations, but tracks and claw marks in soft clay that have been dated to more than 50,000 years in the past, and fossils more than ten times older. Unfortunately, there is no map to go with Harrison’s piecemeal description of scientists’ ventures into the cave; he only refers obliquely to how various methods of dating are done; and the accompanying illustrations mix stiffly artificial painted reconstructions with amateurish color photos that aren’t always captioned and seldom allow viewers to judge the size of what they’re seeing. Over-designed, under-detailed and without even a mention of the cave’s extensive official website, this may excite curiosity about the Riverbluff finds, but isn’t likely to satisfy it. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8118-5006-3
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2007


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