Barnum's bones How Barnum Brown discovered the most famous dinosaur in the world

Tracey E. Fern

Book - 2012

Documents the work of an early twentieth-century paleontologist, named after the famous circus icon by his ambitious parents, who grew up to work for the American Museum of Natural History and discovered the first documented skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and other noteworthy species.

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Location Call Number   Status
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New York : Farrar Straus Giroux 2012.
Main Author
Tracey E. Fern (-)
Other Authors
Boris Kulikov, 1966- (illustrator)
Item Description
"Margaret Ferguson Books."
Physical Description
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 25 x 28 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* On February 12, 1873, Barnum was born. No, not that Barnum Barnum Brown. His parents hoped his important-sounding name would lead him to do important things, and it didn't take long for their wish to come true. As soon as Barnum could toddle, he collected fossils so many that they overflowed the house. Years later, when he heard about dinosaur fossils unearthed out west, he wanted in on the action. Barnum often went prospecting in a fur coat, suit and tie, buffed black boots, and a bowler hat, and he found bones lots of them but wasn't satisfied. A professor at New York's Museum of Natural History hired Barnum, believing he must be able to smell fossils, and sent him on collection trips. But Barnum's big find would come in the early 1900s with the discovery of bone fragments from a new species, which Barnum named Tyrannosaurus rex, or his favorite child. After Barnum later unearthed a perfect T. rex skull, an entire skeleton was pieced together by 1915, drawing millions of visitors. Fern (Buffalo Music, 2008) writes in language brimming with personality and vividly captures the scientist's over-the-top personality, while Kulikov's intricate renderings of dinosaur bones are truly breathtaking. This will captivate the masses of kids whose jaws drop in the presence of hulking fossils. An author's note concludes.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Barnum Brown had a nose for fossils, trudging along behind his father as he plowed his Kansas fields, picking up ancient clams and corals. And that nose, according to Fern's chatty, readable text, led to a lifetime of work for the American Museum of Natural History in New York (originally under the guidance of Henry Fairfield Osborn). A brief glimpse at Brown's early years leads to his expeditions to Patagonia and the American West, and the discovery of his most exciting find-Tyrannosaurus rex. Kulikov's cartoon illustrations splash across the spreads, their golds, browns, oranges (and an occasional bright blue) forming a perfect backdrop for the text, and for a scattering of correspondence between Brown and Osborn tucked into the endpapers ("Please...send me 1/2 doz. short, heavy chisels.."). An extensive author's note provides further biographical detail about this productive paleontologist. This book is simpler than Deborah Kogan Ray's stellar Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age (Farrar, 2010), which has a similar format, and is on a par with David Sheldon's handsome Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter (Walker, 2006). T. rex lovers will gobble it up, and seekers of easy biographies will be hot on their heels.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

At and around the turn of the last century, an eccentric dinosaur hunter dedicated himself to the discovery of a new species, and amassed along the way a peerless collection of fossilized skeletons for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Barnum Brown develops his zeal for bone hunting early, following behind his fathers plow to gather unearthed fossils. He trains as a paleontologist and travels the American West, digging for a new discovery, often dressed to the nines in fur coat and bowler hat. Years of hunting produce a partial skeleton of an unknown carnivorous giant, and years more completed it: at last Tyrannosaurus rex is discovered. Ferns colorful narrative fairly bubbles with Barnums irrepressible fervor as he battles everything from mosquitoes to Andrew Carnegie to establish his legacy. Kulikovs bright, saturated paintings with unusual perspectives and evocative use of light and shadow bring the landscapes of the cultured city and Wild West to vivid life. Clever illustrative details -- imagined dinosaur silhouettes, capricious dinosaur expressions, abundant bits of torn maps -- add a level of fun all their own, reflecting Barnums indefatigable enthusiasm. An authors note and selected bibliography round out this informative, inspirational story of one mans curious, undeniable passion. thom barthelmess (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Presenting Barnum Brown, who, from the time he was named for circus impresario P.T., was destined to do unusual, important things. Obsessed from childhood with fossils--and blessed with an uncanny knack for finding them--Brown began hunting dinosaurs in the American West in the late 19th century. He was hired by New York's Museum of Natural History to find specimens, since that institution had no dinosaur collection at the time. Discover them Brown did, though he didn't unearth any new species--until, after several years of painstaking labor, he discovered the bones, including an intact skull, of the new creature he'd longed to find, later dubbed Tyrannosaurus rex. His "favorite child" took the world by storm, and the dapper Brown, in a career spanning more than six decades, went on to discover more dinosaur fossils than anyone. Fern fills her text with all the salient facts but uses a breezy, humorous, awestruck voice that strikes just the right tone in telling the story of this fascinating, quirky scientist. Kulikov's wittily energetic, earth-toned watercolors enliven the text and add to the fun and interest. Children who gawp at dinosaur exhibits will realize a new appreciation for those who devote their lives to finding and resurrecting extraordinary animals from eons past. And who doesn't love T. rex? (author's note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.