So, if you’d like to be able to tell your alvarezsaur from your crested hadrosaur, pick up this book – and don’t put it down, as you realize early on that author, Mr. Greg Leitich-Smith totally knows his stuff and by stuff I mean dinosaurs.
For me, I had no idea there were so many different types of dinosaurs. Sure, I knew my T-Rex from my brontosaurus, but my hadrosaur from my microraptor? Not so much. But the book is not a reference book by any means. What it is, is a rip-roaring adventure through the cretaceous period and all the danger you can imagine that entails.
When Max and his older twin siblings, Kyle and Emma, get dumped at their reclusive grandpa’s house (I’m feeling a connection here) while their mother heads to a remote corner of Mongolia to dig for feathered dinosaurs (even more of a connection), the three Austin siblings are not exactly pleased. Yes there’s a legendary creek bed on the ranch property, containing fossilized dinosaur tracks that Max, a keen amateur paleontologist, is dying to see, but for his older siblings the summer is looking bleak.
Things start to look up when they meet Petra, their Grandfather’s house-keeper’s daughter, but quickly take a turn for the bizarre when their grandfather predicts his own heart-attack, leaving the four with a parting message – go to the creek bed before 8am the following day.
Go they do, becoming instantly plunged into a plot of kidnapping and intrigue as they follow the kidnapper back to the cretaceous period in, of all things, a VW bug using their great-great-grandfather’s time machine.