Member Reviews

I initially requested this book thinking it would be great for my dinosaur-loving son, but quickly found myself as engrossed in the story as he was!

Matthews excels not only in taking us through the story from the viewpoint of Pakky, a Pachyrhinosaurus living in what is now modern-day Alaska, but also in providing a wealth of information and some serious insight into what a dinosaur’s life might have been like. Naturally, much of Pakky’s experiences are speculative, but seem quite reasonable considering the facts we do know about these creatures based on fossil finds.

The knowledge imparted in this book and the storytelling whisk the reader away to millions of years ago, allowing readers young and old alike to imagine the possible experiences of a young dinosaur in a harsh climate. And aside from an enjoyable story, the author also provides bonus material at the end of the book, like charts, crossword puzzles, photos, and word games.

All in all, I was incredibly impressed with this book, perhaps even more so than my son! Many thanks to #NetGalley for giving my son and I the opportunity to read this book!

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I wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t. While the attempt was admirable, I don’t think it was nearly engaging enough, and the attempts at casual/speech like prose, come off less accesible and more clunky. I really don’t have a ton to say about it, if the question is whatever or not I’d reccomend it to young readers that want to learn more about dinosaurs, the answer is probably not. Too much to wade through to get to the interesting bits. I do appreciate the illustrations in the book.

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Well, this wasn't the book I'd expected to get. I thought without looking at it at all carefully it would be a book such as I see from the two purveyors of Arctic communities/First Nations books I regularly review, and would be a guide for the young of those regions to their prehistory. It tries to be that, but in the form of educational fiction, and whether from the Reithian approach or from the fact it's just not that well written, it lost a lot of the fun such a volume should convey.

One off-putting aspect is that this is a dense splodge of text – yes, we often get a perfectly reasonable portrait of one of the dinosaur species involved, for colouring in, but the page otherwise is crammed with unfriendly-looking text. Mind you, you really need all the page-width you can get when trying to print sentences such as "(w)hile Pakky processed the various scents, she also heard the throaty hummmmm hummmmm hummmmm from the herd of ornithomimosauruses that spent their nights in another part of the forest, near pachyrhinosaurus territory but at a greater distance from the lake".

Such phrases trip off the tongue, don't they? And all of this is caught at a middle-ground, of wanting to be as scientific as possible, and yet also a narrative of some early seasons in the life of our young Pakky. And both aspects of it are lumpenly told, as the repetitive early sections, concerning the potential presence of a predator Pakky's mum can sniff out but not identify yet, prove – laboriously telling us how her mind is working in relation to the scent, showing us that she smells a certain way herself as a result, and then telling us it all again but using different phrasing. In trying to get so close into the mindset of these beasts, and in portraying each and every possible detail about their world – "(s)ome dry vines hung in her frill horns. They interfered with her sight. She shook her head and the vine strands fell to the side" – this gets stuffed full of everything but pleasure.

Finally, even if the text of the story (itself only novella-length, despite the crammed page) isn't academic enough, the pages before and after are crammed with different things, such as crossword puzzles, and reports of the consequences of fossil collecting, and none of it seems to be for the same age bracket of reader as the next. (It also has the essential pronunciation guide – but only after you've read the flippin' prose.) There is research galore and scientific speculation aplenty in the fiction here, but all in a joyless manner, and as part of what I deemed an ill-thought-through book. One and a half stars.

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Even if I've been reading a lot of books about dinosaurs since I was a child It was the first time I read about artic Dinosaurs.
Well explained and with some fun activities.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This fiction chapter book tells the story of dinosaurs living in Alaska prior to extinction. There are a number of species of dinosaurs named, described and given character traits. The habitats, adaptations and ways of life of these dinosaurs are highly described while still being in the context of fiction. I’m not entirely sure what age group to recommend this book for, the text is very complicated, beyond just the long names and descriptions of dinosaurs, there are also higher level and less frequent vocabulary words, such as: quench your thirst, almost imperceptible and reduction of light. For a true dinosaur fan in the age 10-14 range with a very strong reading level this book might be a good fit, but I think it would really depend on the kid. It is definitely an interesting story with some really neat information about a specific group of dinosaurs, but it might be a little too challenging for the middle grade age group who would probably be most interested in it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book!

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Arctic Dinosaurs of Alaska
by Bonnye Matthews
Allowing the reader to color the illustrations involve the readers in a unique way. Even allowing them to add their name to the book. The pictures are great for coloring simple for the youngest reader, but detailed and researched to a level for the followers of dinosaur research. The book is based on finds and research to artic dinosaurs on the Alaska tundra. More and more finds have added to the research. Bonnye Matthews, was able to find a way to make a wonderful story based on each of the finds, showing the nature of the dinosaurs that have been found but also explaining how the bones and resources were fossilized in the last moments of these dinosaurs. Its a different twist on dinosaur stories.

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Illustrations by Jacques Polomé and Anthony LeBeau

Quite frankly, I didn't expect to be as caught up in the story as I was. I found myself almost immediately transported into the story and way back in time to the time of Alaska's dinosaurs. I wanted to know how it all happened, how it turned out, especially for Pakky. In other words, author Bonnye Matthews did a great job of converting my idle curiosity into "must know" intent, not easy since I must admit to not being particularly into dinosaurs. I even found myself staring out the window of my home in Alaska pondering that time so very long ago. The history of my adopted state never fails to amaze me.

Although there is plenty of serious information shared here, Matthews does it in a story fashion, making female juvenile dinosaur Pakky's eyes the ones we view that world through. It was fascinating to read the possibilities of how the dinosaurs lived. Given what seems to be proven very small brains, especially for their size, how did they survive the harsh, changing climate/environment in which they found themselves. As Matthews notes in a memorandum at the end, she is only speculating on their possible use of what I dubbed sound and smell memories. Young dinosaurs would surely have had to learn that certain sounds and smells meant danger, hence this theory seemed plausible.

It was also fun to imagine a young dinosaur's first encounter with snow or, gulp, an earthquake. Set in the area between the Brooks Range and Arctic Ocean, even though it was much warmer 70 million years ago, the cycle of life meant winters were harsh. Real dinosaurs have left tracks, an imprint on the earth if you will, so the setting is real. Seeing it all through Pakky's eyes brings it to life.

As a former teacher, I found the volume of information shared impressive. As you read the story, and an adult would need to read it for younger readers, you almost forget you are learning as you get caught up in Pakky's thoughts (can we say dinosaurs thought?) and sensory observations. It was only when I hit the end of the book and was going through the extra material, which included three crosswords (and answers), that it even dawned on my retired teacher brain how much I'd learned as I read. The discussion questions provided only solidified that observation. Comparison charts, reference lists, words games, and the author's own musings on her speculations in this children's fiction book were a plus. To top it all off, there are photos at the end, including from the Museum of the North in Fairbanks and (closer to me) Anchorage's Museum of Science and Nature.

If you're a teacher or simply interested in dinosaurs or, for that matter, Alaska's history, this book should be a must. As I said, I'm not even particularly into dinosaurs but the Alaska connection pulled me in. Hard to believe, looking out my window, that dinosaurs once roamed here. Kudos to Bonnye Matthews for tapping my curiosity and holding it. I didn't even let the temptation to start coloring some of the drawings provided deter my reading but, hey, now that I'm finished, hmmm....

Thanks #NetGalley and #FathomPublishingCompany for reminding me how very much I still have to learn about my own home state.

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The Arctic Dinosaurs of Alaska was read by my 8 year old son. He following is his review!

" definitely 5 stars out of 5. I loved the title and cover and that made me want to read it. I know a lot about dinosaurs and thought this book would teach me about dinosaurs"
I WAS VERY EXCITED definitely!

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Arctic Dinosaurs of Alaska is a great resource for any child interested in dinosaurs. I guess the chapter pictures were for coloring, but I would have just preferred them to be colored in and completed. This would be useful for a school project, there are TONS of facts about dinos!!

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I like so many things about this book. I like that it is a coloring book, as this will help engage a child more. I also love that it is full of information, but it is delivered in a fun and engaging narrative, rather than in a boring, textbook-style dump of information. I also like that each coloring page has a subtitle which names the Dinosaur(s) in the image and explains the action that is going on. I like that this book has maps and a timeline at the beginning. I also appreciate the questions at the end and comparison chart. This will be great for either discussion or research papers and projects.

I will be purchasing a hard copy of this for my daughter's homeschooling. Highly Recommend!

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When I started this book, I immediately noticed the very educational tone it was written in, which made me wonder if the writer maybe had a teaching background or if she maybe was a home educator. I started to look into her and found out that she has written quite a few books focus on archaeological sites with people from the Americas (x amount of years BC). she worked in education and was a home schooling her daughter! Basically hello Bonnye Matthews, you are a powerhouse!

Now back to the book the pictures are in black and white, and as the book suggest, these can be coloured in, they even encourage you to. then there is a lot of information, that give you an understanding of the circumstances the dinosaurs were in, however it is a LOT. extremely good for home educators, with children interested in the dinosaur subject, as so much to learn, however you (or/and the child) could just skip this part and start with chapter one of the actual story.

as soon as I started with chapter one of the story, I was emerge in it. (even though I do not have much affiliation with dinosaurs myself and my children are still to young to go into this type of depth) I was taken away to that time and place and this was because of the excellent descriptions given of the surroundings. I was genuinely sad when I thought Ranny and the other Matriach had died!

Towards the end of the book there are word cross puzzles and extra information regarding the subject. this as said before would be really good to use in an educational setting (this being in a school or as a home educator)

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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I love dinosaurs so anytime I can read a book about them I'm a happy camper. I love the science of it all and seeing how our view of dinosaurs have changed from when I was a kid to now. This was a really informative read and I enjoyed reading this. I appreciated that we were able to have a dinosaur as the main character. This works great for a children's book and isn't dumb down for older generations.

"The little hatchlings were sharply focused on their mothers at first. She was the first pachyrhinosaurus they saw, and they followed her. Pakky wanted to see them close, but she realized she’d have to wait."

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