Dinosaurs: Yesterday's Mystery


86 pages
ISBN 0-920985-11-4
DDC 428.6





Illustrations by Gundra Kucy
Reviewed by Laurence Steven

Laurence Steven is Chairman of the English Department at Laurentian
University and author of Dissociation and Wholeness in Patrick White’s


The marriage of fact and fantasy is a combination that sets Dinosaurs
apart. Children are presented with facts while still being encouraged to
use their imagination. No doubt this will make the book popular with
children and adults alike.

The colorful drawings and wide variety of genres—short stories,
poems, plays, cartoons, songs, and factual information—capture and
hold a child’s attention. In addition to answering the question
“What is a dinosaur?” the authors furnish information on
paleontology and the role of the dinosaur today. The text is riddled
with questions that may be the inciting force in the creation of a new
generation of paleontologists. Besides providing intellectual stimulus,
this diverse format also gives the child an opportunity to participate
physically, as in the “Pet Day” play and “Dinosercize” aerobics.

An animal that has been extinct for millions of years comes alive to a
child through creative illustrations that set the historical mood.
Furthermore, local comparisons liken these unknown animals to known
objects; for example, a dinosaur is said to be “as long as a
schoolbus” and “as tall as a four-story building.”

This book can be read by children ages eight to twelve, but if a parent
were to read it out loud, it would entertain someone as young as five.
The language is difficult due to the nature of the subject, but the
authors compensate for this potential problem by including pronunciation
keys. Moreover, the book also contains helpful organizational aids, such
as a table of contents and clearly defined chapters. These divisions
effectively provide natural stopping points for a parent who is reading
it as a bedtime story.

When we read this book to a group of devilish children (ages 5-12), I
was amazed to see how fascinated they were. Pictures, puppets, and plays
soon followed, for the dinosaur craze infected even the most
hard-to-please child. Dinosaurs affords children the opportunity to
expand their knowledge of dinosaurs, but doesn’t place any
restrictions on their imaginations. This book is a must for any home,
school, or public library.


Avoledo, Alida, Nora Maguire, Catharine McDonald, and Patricia Opyr., “Dinosaurs: Yesterday's Mystery,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 3, 2021, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23200.