Review Blog

Mar 11 2013

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter by Robert Irwin and Jack Wells

cover image

Random House Australia, 2013. pbk., ill., 96pp., RRP $A9.95.
The Discovery. ISBN 9781864718454.
Ambush at Cisco Swamp. ISBN 9781864718461
Armoured Defence. ISBN 978174250910
The Dinosaur Feather. ISBN 978174250927
(also available in ebook format)
'Behind him he heard another sigh, which was more like a snort. Turning around slowly, Robert found himself staring into the face of another australovenator, a smaller version of the earlier scary one. Although, admittedly, this one was still pretty scary! It leant down to give Robert a sniff. This was the first time it had come across a creature like this! For a dinosaur that might have weighed around 350 kilograms, he was surprisingly light on his feet. Robert hadn't heard a thing. His heart thumped hard against his ribcage. He was too scared to breathe. On the one hand, Robert was thrilled - his favourite dinosaur was so close he could touch him . . . on the other hand the australovenator was called the Southern Hunter for a good reason. This was a bloodthirsty carnivorous dinosaur, and even though this one was young, Robert couldn't help thinking that he just might get to feel the strength of the dino's jaws firsthand . . any second now.'
Robert Irwin has been given a trip to Winton in northwest Queensland for his 9th birthday present. The location is Robert's choice because he has a fascination with dinosaurs and many new exciting dinosaur discoveries have been made there recently. It is also home to the only museum in Australia dedicated to Australian dinosaurs and part of the attraction was going on a dinosaur dig with a renowned palaeontologist. It is there he discovers a dinosaur claw which turns out to have special powers . . . and so begins his first back-in-time adventure.
When your name is Robert Irwin and your dad is the world famous Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter it might be hard to come out from under that shadow. But in this series of books designed to capture the imagination of the newly-independent reader (or those who adore dinosaurs and demand a dinosaur read-aloud) Robert has shown that as well as being his dad's son he also has a passion and that is for dinosaurs, the ancestors of the crocs which form such a huge part of his life. They say he's been writing to the world's leading palaeontologists since most kids start writing to Santa.
Each book features a different dinosaur (not always Australian) and, in a mixture of great adventure and factual knowledge as Robert documents his discoveries into his voice recorder, the young reader is immersed in a topic that continues to fascinate this age group, long after the dinosaurs have gone. Any teacher librarian will tell you that the 567.9 section of the library is the most popular, particularly with young boys. Illustrated with Robert's own drawings (which are amazing for one so young), this is a series which has huge potential to not only hook those up-and-coming readers but also entice those not quite there yet to keep practising so they can read them for themselves.
Each book has a QR code which unlocks a special message from Robert and there will soon be a website at http://www.dinosaurhunter.com.au You don't really need much more than that really.
This is a series that will find its way to Mr 6's shelf, another Robert Irwin in the making . . .
Barbara Braxton

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