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BARNUM'S BONES by Tracey Fern Kirkus Star


How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World

by Tracey Fern & illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-374-30516-1
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Presenting Barnum Brown, who, from the time he was named for circus impresario P.T., was destined to do unusual, important things.

Obsessed from childhood with fossils—and blessed with an uncanny knack for finding them—Brown began hunting dinosaurs in the American West in the late 19th century. He was hired by New York’s Museum of Natural History to find specimens, since that institution had no dinosaur collection at the time. Discover them Brown did, though he didn’t unearth any new species—until, after several years of painstaking labor, he discovered the bones, including an intact skull, of the new creature he’d longed to find, later dubbed Tyrannosaurus rex. His “favorite child” took the world by storm, and the dapper Brown, in a career spanning more than six decades, went on to discover more dinosaur fossils than anyone. Fern fills her text with all the salient facts but uses a breezy, humorous, awestruck voice that strikes just the right tone in telling the story of this fascinating, quirky scientist. Kulikov’s wittily energetic, earth-toned watercolors enliven the text and add to the fun and interest.

Children who gawp at dinosaur exhibits will realize a new appreciation for those who devote their lives to finding and resurrecting extraordinary animals from eons past. And who doesn’t love T. rex? (author’s note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)