Review Blog

Jul 17 2014

Edward and the great discovery by Rebecca McRitchie and Celeste Hulme

cover image

New Frontier, 2014. ISBN 9781925059007.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Dinosaurs. Archaeology, Dodo.
All Edward wants to do is make a big discovery. After all his parents and grandparents have all made discoveries in their lives as archaeologists, and he expects to follow in their footsteps. But try as he might, digging holes in the garden, he does not find anything of significance. But one night he digs up an egg. He loves his egg. He wraps it up and cuddles it in bed, and eventually it hatches. It is a bird, but not like any bird he has seen. He examines it closely and realises that its wings are not quite right. He is despondent, he feels his discovery is broken.
He goes to his favourite place, a museum of ancient things and there finds himself in a room devoted to birds. He spies a dodo, and reading about it shows him that his bird is special. He has indeed made a great discovery, one which warrants his photo on the family wall.
For a class being introduced to a unit of work on archaeology and dinosaurs this is a wonderful opener. The back endpaper jumps out at the reader with images of all the things that Edward needs to ply his trade. Kids will thrill at the work Edward does in digging up his garden, and will watch eagerly as he finds out what his bird really is. Adults will be able to discuss the demise of the dodo and easily open the discussion about what we have done to kill off so many species around the world, and discuss just how the dodo evolved and why it was so precarious when it came to be threatened. This beautifully illustrated book will lead the class in a whole range of discussions and research into topics such as science and environment. The illustrations are fascinating, with a myriad of things to look for in the background, all redolent of the nineteenth century when archaeology was world news.
Fran Knight

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