________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002

cover The Disappearing Dinosaur. (Adventure.Net, #3).

Andrea Spalding and David Spalding.
Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2002.
128 pp., pbk., $8.95
ISBN 1-55285-311-X.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Janet Delgatty.

*** /4



Rick scrambled up the steep slope like a monkey. Then he started raking the surface with his eyes. "I have a feeling about this," he murmured to himself. "The weirdest feeling . . ." The ground was covered with shattered pieces of dark brown rock and more tiny scraps of bone. But it was hard to keep his balance on the steep slope. The loose surface broke away under his feet. He slithered backwards across the face of the slope, showering debris down on the girls.

"Rick, quit it!" yelled Willow. "Those rocks hurt."

Rick jammed one foot into a crack, grasped a protruding knob of rock with one hand, and finally stopped sliding. As he lay spread-eagled across the slope, with his nose almost in the dirt, he realized he was looking at a biggish chunk of broken bone with a distinctive edge. He picked it up, raised his head, and looked further up the slope. There was another loose piece. It looked as though it might match up with the first piece. He struggled back up the hill and examined the new find. It also had an interesting shape and had the same pattern on one edge. He sucked in his breath with excitement. Then, stuffing the pieces in his pocket, he looked around for more. His movement made part of the unstable surface shift again.

Rick and Willow are sleuthing again in "Adventure.Net #3." This time, they accompany their parents to a documentary film shoot in Alberta's dinosaur country. Most of the fossilized remains of a huge T-Rex have been discovered, and the kids get to help the paleontological team of experts and volunteers. Everything has been found except for the head. But accidents and disappearing equipment plague the dig. Willow and Rick make friends with local kids, do some detecting, and discover that all is not as it seems.

     Previous "Adventure.Net" books were set in the B.C. Kootenays (The Silver Boulder) and Ontario (The Lost Sketch). The series, by husband and wife team David and Andrea Spalding, gets better with each book. Andrea writes the stories. David provides the non-fiction boxed inserts with facts about dinosaurs, excavations, history of digs in Alberta and elsewhere, black market fossils, and accompanying websites. A check of the websites cited revealed 15 out of 17 that were live - that's pretty good considering how fast things change on the WWW. Sites chosen are reputable and kid friendly.

     Rick and Willow are engaging characters. They have a fun and unconventional life, traveling about in a converted bus with their filmmaker parents, and they are real enough that many kids will think, "Boy, wish I could live like that!" Their personalities get a little more developed with each book. Mom, Dad, other kids, and the cast of suspects are credible. Bring on "Adventure.Net #4"!


Janet Delgatty is Collections Librarian with Children's Services of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, based in Nanaimo, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364