Children's books about paleontology
February 22, 2016 10:35 PM   Subscribe

My five year old wants to be a paleontologist and an astronaut when he grows up. There are lots of kids' books about space, and about the experience of being an astronaut. There are lots of kids' books about dinosaurs and fossils. He wants a book about paleontology and paleontologists. The person working the info desk at our library branch today wasn't terribly helpful. Maybe you will be?

I'm mostly looking for picture-book level nonfiction or realistically-minded fiction. He likes simple chapter books (big Magic Tree House fan right now), and doesn't have a lot of patience for the kinds of picture book-style kids' nonfiction that has long paragraphs on each page. We have a couple of DK/Eyewitness books on hold about fossils. But any recommendations are good!
posted by linettasky to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a free pdf e-book about paleontologists/paleontology, written by Greg Smedley-Warren, a kindergarten teacher who "searched for a good book about paleontologists, but there wasn't anything good." (So he wrote his own.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:51 PM on February 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

Try Amazon.

Bones Rock

posted by bluedaisy at 10:58 PM on February 22, 2016

"T. Rex" and the crater of Doom, by Walter Alvarez, would be perfect if your son were about three years older.

Maybe you could read it to him? And explain some of the harder parts?

Walter Alvarez is a geologist who got interested in what is known as the "K-T layer", a layer of clay that sits between sediments from the Cretaceous and sediments of the Tertiary. Dinosaur fossils all sit below it; no dinosaurs are ever found above it. The K-T clay layer is found all over the world at that point, which makes it rather unusual.

Luis Alvarez, Walter's father, was a genius working at Livermore Labs on whatever struck his fancy. Between the two of them they developed and established the theory that there was a giant asteroid that struck the earth at the end of the Cretaceous, and that's what killed off the dinosaurs (and most of the rest of animal species on Earth which lived at that time). Walter Alvarez's book I linked to above is his story of how they developed that theory, and it's fascinating and very well written. But it isn't written at the level of a 5-year-old reader.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:26 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Boundary by Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor, is a science fiction novel that combines paleontologists and astronauts. Paleontologists in Montana discover dinosaur bones with shotgun pellet holes in them, and then, following a trail of clues I have since forgotten, travel to Mars to find out more about the aliens who fired the shotgun.

As Chocolate Pickle suggested above, maybe you could read it to your son.
posted by Bruce H. at 1:21 AM on February 23, 2016

Try "How the dinosaur got to the museum" and "Dig those dinosaurs" (sorry for no links, having iPad issues). The first of which is at a MCPL location. I haven't read these so I don't know if there are long paragraphs.
posted by collocation at 2:54 AM on February 23, 2016

My daughter enjoyed Stone Girl Bone Girl about Mary Anning. It has quite a bit about early paleontology in it as well as her story.
posted by rudd135 at 4:15 AM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not a book but a song: I am a Paleontologist by They Might Be Giants. So damn catchy!

Also maybe this: Digging Up Dinosaurs
posted by lyssabee at 5:45 AM on February 23, 2016

Barnum's Bones might work.
posted by gudrun at 7:26 AM on February 23, 2016

I don't know if it gets into paleontology but I just came across an archaeology magazine for kids called Dig.
posted by XMLicious at 9:29 PM on March 31, 2016

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