Saskatoon Lifestyle Review - Dinosaur Hideout

Reviewed by: Bonnie Thompson

What do a twelve-year-old boy, a couple family farm and dinosaur bones have in common? The answer is adventure on the prairies. While facing numerous troubles in his young life, Daniel discovers courage, the thrill of adventure, the satisfaction of forming life long bonds and the value of home and family. Dinosaur Hideout, is the first book in a series written by Judith Silverthorne, where Daniel discovers a new friend and a brilliant find within the very land his family calls home. Daniel learns the secrets of time travel, overcomes the dangers of prehistoric times and discovers the mysteries of the ancient inhabitants.

Daniel is an amateur paleontologist living on a farm in southern Saskatchewan. He has developed a love of paleontology that is constantly interrupted by his life. Some of his obligations include chores on the farm, amusing his baby sister and getting to school. The stresses of his everyday life are compounded when the news of possibly losing the family farm shake the core of his family's struggles. They are now faced with either selling the farm, which has remained within their family for generations, or accepting a contract with an oil company for the necessary funds to save their farm. The latter would ultimately create havoc on the land by tearing it up and changing its nature forever. Neither option is overly appealing to Daniel and his family.

To escape the mounting stresses at home, Daniel creates a secret hide-a-way spot for himself and his dog, Dactyl. He chooses a spot near the land of an older, seemingly unpleasant man, Mr. Pederson. However, Daniel eventually discovers that all is not as it seems when he stumbles upon Mr. Pederson's home during a snow storm. As Daniel and Dactyl wait out the storm in Mr. Pederson's home, Daniel discovers Mr. Pederson's love of paleontology and soon forms a close friendship with him. Throughout their discussion of bones and fossils they explore possibilities of saving the family farm without having to sell it or allowing the oil companies to destroy it. Pederson, who turns out to be a distinguished paleontologist, formulates a plan to establish fossil exploration and eventually, a museum. It would seem that this plan would benefit all concerned: Daniel's love of fossils would be further encouraged and the family farm would be saved from disaster.

By wrapping the story of the paleontological pursuits, the author, Judith Silverthorne has expertly outlined what it means for a twelve-year-old boy to explore his surroundings, form bonds with family and friends and to discover importance of finding adventure and curiosity in the world around him. This expertly written adventure story is surrounded by the natural beauty of southern Saskatchewan and is sure to please all adventure seekers. The series will certainly appeal to children between ages nine and eleven who offer an exciting read with plenty of adventure. The vocabulary dealing with dinosaur finds is explained at the back of each book, which also provides a bibliography on dinosaurs. Dinosaur Hideout, Dinosaur Breakout and Dinosaur Stakout, is a series that will offer children a view into the world of paleontology where they can learn more about dinosaurs and themselves through the adventures of a twelve-year-old boy in Saskatchewan named Daniel.

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