Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dinosaur Museums!

Last weekend we went to our local Natural History Museum and Planetarium to show Lil Guy his first real dinosaur skeleton.  We’ve been a bit obsessed with both dinosaurs and Space lately so this field trip was especially awesome for Lil Guy.  In fact we enjoyed it so much that we decided to become museum members!  I strongly recommend joining local museums or science centers.  There are many literacy and STEM programs and activities provided by these organizations.  The authentic experience of seeing, touching, and experimenting can’t be beat, especially for the youngest learners who flourish with concrete learning.  On that note, I have 2 very different and fun books about dinosaur museums to share with you today: 

Harry And The Dinosaurs At The Museum by Ian Whybrow

Harry is a little tyke who loves dinosaurs.  He is tagging along with his family on a trip to a museum.   He learns about ancestors, ancient Romans, Egyptians, and even Cave Dwellers.  Also along for the ride is Harry’s bucket full of dinosaurs.  When Harry gets lost at the museum, he takes the dinosaurs to see their ancestors, the giant dino skeletons.  Harry’s dinosaurs are delighted to see their relatives.   Harry’s family is relieved when they find him being attended to by a museum official. This book is pure silliness and fun.  It’s far from the non-fiction dinosaur books that give only facts, and is a nice mix of realistic fiction and preschool imagination.  Recommended for dinosaur loving preschoolers and early elementary students.

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

This Non-Fiction gem starts off with a curious young boy who only wants to know how a Diplodocus Dinosaur skeleton came to be at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington Museum.  The story starts in with the live Diplodocus taking readers through the fossilization process.  The rest of the story goes through a ‘House that Jack Built’ type story that repeats the steps that the Smithsonian went through to secure and restore the Diplodocus skeleton.  The text is both fun and informational, using real vocabulary and specific details about the provenance (That’s a bit of fancy museum vocabulary explained in the back of the book.) of this Diplodocus.  Repeated phrasing, story building, and vocabulary are actually very readable even as a read aloud for young readers.  Here's a bit of the repeated text:

The Diplodocus,
which was made complete by the CURATOR,
uncrated by the PREPARATORS,
brought to Washington D.C. by the MOVERS,
chiseled from the stone by the EXCAVATORS,
authenticated by the PALEONTOLOGIST,
and searched for by the DINOSAUR HUNTER.

Highly recommended for non-fiction readers, dinosaur and museum lovers, and all readers ages 3 to 12. 

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