Older Than the Dinosaurs

I recently had a great surprise in the mail! A package to me! Just me!

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I won a raffle from Kid Lit Reviews way back during Children’s Book Week! That lovely Ms Sue Morris sent me this book and I see that it was personally stamped by her cat!

I was particularly excited about winning this book because I kind of have a connection to it. The book is Wisteria’s Show and Tell Spectacular: Older than the Dinosaurs by Susan Grigsby with pictures by Alexandra Miller. It was published by Shenanigan Books in 2012. Ms Grigsby has a great website with teacher guides for this book. Just click her name.

It’s show and tell day at school and the theme is Something Really Old. Wisteria has a history of creating disasters with her show and tells so she is especially intent on a good showing this time. But what can she find that’s really old? Well, she is very lucky to have a neighbor who is a geologist. And she is also lucky to have a backyard full of fossils and cool rocks. She ends up with a great show and tell history lesson and gets an A, but it is not exactly smooth sailing — I won’t tell you what happens, but it involves an old dog!

Now my special connection to this book is that I am also lucky to have a yard full of fossils and cool rocks!

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You see Glen Rose, Texas (where I live) used to be covered by a big ocean millions of years ago. And when that ocean dried up it left behind millions of marine fossils and petrified wood and limestone cliffs.

And — way back when, we had dinosaurs roaming around. In the early 1900s dinosaur tracks were discovered in the bed of the Paluxy River. The river that I play in all the time! Since then scientists have made a big todo about these tracks. Some were dug up and sent to the Smithsonian Institue, several Texas colleges and quite a few museums. We have a great book  that has a lot of information about our dinosaurs.

dino bookDiscover Texas Dinosaurs was written by Charles E. Finsley and illustrated by Doris Tischler. It was published by Gulf Publishing Co. in 1999.

Luckily some of the tracks were left where they were found and you can visit Dinosaur Valley State Park and see them for yourself!

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We happen to live just down the road from this park. It’s a great place to camp and hike and play in the river. It’s a popular place for folks who like that kind of thing. And there seem to be a lot of people who do!!

So, you see why I was excited to win this book about Wisteria and her old rocks?! You should check it out and come visit us in Glen Rose. Dinosaur Capital of Texas!

And here is a fascinating video of Mr R. T. Bird taking away our dinosaur tracks in 1937.

Rolling on the River —

We got to play in the river today!!  YaHoo!! I LOVE the river! I like to swim and fetch my toy. And roll in stuff. Walker likes to get wet and run, run, run. He’s like a black gazelle. The Mom Person likes to explore. And throw my toy. And take pictures. And throw my toy. The trees along the bank are all losing their leaves and the river is full of pretty color. It’s the purple season — purple flowers and purple leaves and purple berries. And you thought dogs were color blind. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife. A lot of little frogs. And a fisherman up river a bit.

We’ve got this really nice book called Where the River Begins by Thomas Locker. It is filled with the most beautiful, serene paintings by Mr Locker.  The story is about 2 boys who live next to a river and wonder where the river begins. So their grandfather takes them on a camping trip to see if they can find the beginning of the river. They have a nice, leisurely trek all the way up the river. It’s a companionable trip with just the 2 boys, their grandfather and their dog. And all of the natural world around them.

I don’t know where this book river is. It doesn’t look much like my river, except that it’s not very big. My river has big rocks and cliffs and thick forests along the bank. I think about swimming up river as far as I can go. But I think that it would be a long way. Sometimes in the summer our river goes dry and then we can walk up the river bed and find fossils and dinosaur tracks  and other treasures. We’ve walked up a couple of miles before, but then we just turned back and went home.

Rivers are magical places. The sounds and the smells and the wildlife. I recommend a river trip for everyone. Whether to find the beginning of one or the end. To swim or to fish. To ride the rapids in a kayak or tube the slow parts. A river is full of stories.

The beginning of my river, The Paluxy River, is up there somewhere. For now I’ll just stick with my little part of it.

Thomas Locker has written and illustrated many similar books for children. He died this year and I’m glad that I got to know him a little through his work. I hope that you will check out Where the River Begins or one of his other fine books.

And Happy Drifting!