Dinosaur Scientist by Thom Holmes

I don’t recall exactly why I grabbed Dinosaur Scientist: Careers Digging Up the Past by Tom Holmes from the Library. I had stopped by the new books section on my way out and saw this book, looked at the cover, thought it looked cool, and took it home. It wasn’t until I read the full title, the part about careers, that I said a silent ‘Oh, no!’ I shouldn’t have said it. I was just a page or two into the first chapter before I was hooked. Now that I finished it, I’m giving it strong recommendations.

Dinosaur Scientist is one of the rare and excellent science books describing what scientists do at a level that elementary and middle-schoolers can become engaged with. Holmes approach is to present 6 top paleontologists and describe their careers through short bio pieces, each making up a chapter. Along the way he explains the cool science, adventures and discoveries that each of these scientists has made, and how they solved the problems that they encountered. He shows how multi-faceted they are in their skills and backgrounds and the paths they took to becoming paleontologists.

The author has a personal interest in the subject and, it seems, considerable experience, as well. This shows throughout the book. He isn’t just relating facts and activities, but he exposes the interesting personalities of each scientist and bits about their science that are most engaging, that is, the very things that draw a person into a scientific field.

And there is the career component of this book. Each scientist expresses in their own words how they prepared themselves and what they found most useful to know. In this day and age, it’s common for college students to have no idea what they would like to do with their lives even when they’ve reached their junior and senior years in college. They have no vision and they have no valuable guidance. Books such as Dinosaur Scientist are excellent resources to help our kids choose a career path and begin planning to achieve their dreams.

The author, Thom Holmes, has a web page and a paleo-blog. He has a short bio here. He’s written about 20 books on dinosaurs, evolution and other prehistoric life.


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