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STOLEN BONES by Joan Carris


by Joan Carris & illustrated by Stephen Marchesi

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-13018-4
Publisher: Little, Brown

 Eleven-year-old Alec's lifelong hurt over his grandfather's rejection comes to the fore when he and his mother accompany her dad on a summer dinosaur dig in Montana: Valuable bones disappear, and Alec--torn by his angry wish to win ``Dr. Dinosaur's'' love and respect and by a desire to stop the thefts- -plays detective. His sometimes dangerous investigations reveal that nearly everyone in camp has both opportunity and motive. Gradually, he also learns more about the past and the painful loss motivating his grandfather's behavior. By summer's end, the mystery is solved, and Alec and his grandfather have grown close enough to agree that Alec will rejoin the dig the next year. This well-crafted story, nicely seasoned with well-integrated information on excavating fossils, offers much to admire: a large, well-individualized cast; the interaction between Alec and his mother; the evolving relationship between Alec and his grandfather, realistically portrayed; fine suspense when Alec confronts some suspects; and humor when friend Rina joins in. A good lead-in to Conrad's My Daniel (1989) and Lasky's Bone Wars (1988), both for somewhat older readers. Note about joining a dig; glossary. (Fiction. 8-12)