Search This Blog

Monday, November 6, 2017

Seuss-like Dinosaur Tale Entertains while Teaching



Welcome to Day #1 of the “Sticks ‘n’ Stones” Blog Tour

To celebrate the release of “Sticks ‘n’ Stones ‘n’ Dinosaur Bones,” written by Ted Enik and illustrated by G.F. Newland, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content about this humorous tall tale and giving away chances to win a copy of “Sticks ‘n’ Stones ‘n’ Dinosaur Bones.” 

Sticks ‘n’ Stones ‘n’ Dinosaur Bones: Being a Whimsical ‘Take’ on a (pre)Historical Event
Written by Ted Enik and illustrated by G.F. Newland
Schiffer Publishing, Philadelphia, and Pixel Mouse House, New York, September 2017

“I’ll tell you a story – and some of It’s true – that explores and explains what the Bone Hunters do.” So begins this story about a feud between two paleontologists during America’s Gilded Age in the 1870s and ‘80s.

The story is told in a rollicking rhyme with lots of humor, and is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss in its writing style and sense of fun. It is about the frenzied competition to find dinosaur bones that grew between Edward Drinker Cope of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and O. Charles Marsh of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, New Haven, CT.
  
“Each paleontologist used less-than-ethical methods to outdo the other – lying, stealing, blackmail, even destroying fossils,” writes Enik in a prologue. “Both obsessed and vengeful men attacked each other in professional journals as well as in newspapers targeted at the general public, in an all-out attempt to ruin his rival’s credibility and have his funding withdrawn.”

Enik is a master of rhyme and rhythm. A Goodreads reviewer said she found herself nearly singing when she read the book aloud to her daughter.

The story begins:

“Wrinkled professors from northeastern colleges/ saw there was room to expand certain knowledges.”
“Edward D. Cope was the man that School “A” / felt was perfectly suited for digging away!
“O. Charles Marsh represented School “B.” / Who could think of no Bone Hunter better than he!”
“If any bone promised a glimmer of glory, / a scout set about telegraphing the story
To big city newspapers – holding their deadlines -- /and poised to report it in EXTRA LARGE headlines.”

Before long, both paleontologists decide to stoop to less ethical means of winning the most accolades.

“To heck with science,” Marsh hissed to his shovel, / Outshining my rival’s the goal, far above all.
“It’s much more important to outdo my foe, / and if fibbing comes into it, who’s going to know?”

Both men spread rumors that they found something far greater than any bones so far discovered. Each gathers crowds and crows about their amazing discoveries.

“Behold!” bellowed Cope/ like a one-person chorus. / An animal never on Earth seen before!!!!
“My NeverTopThisOne-Ginormous-asaurus!”

His opponent Marsh tries to one-up him:

“Exclaiming, ‘Good People, look here! Feast your eyes! / What I’m holding before you – though tiny in size—
“Is by far-and-away, of the hundreds I’ve found, / quite the topmost dead treasure I took from the ground!”

Despite the scientists’ raving superlatives, their audiences see through their insincere claims.

“Like that! The Bone Hunters were fired, and broke. / Where once they were famous they now were a joke.
“And why not/ They were phonies/ and Bone Buccaneers
“Who swindled their sponsors and spoiled their careers.”

Regardless of their childish competition, these two scientists each discovered the bones of many dinosaurs and the two of them were responsible for the flowering of the science of paleontology, Enik writes.

Marsh discovered and named the Allosaurus, the Apatosaurus (originally named Bronotosaurus), the Diplodocus, the Stegosaurus, and the Triceratops. Cope discovered and named the Camarasaurus, the Coelophysis, and the Dimetrodon. He named the Elasmosaurus, which was discovered by another paleontologist, Dr. Theophilus Turner.

G.F. Newland’s illustrations are charming, stylistic, and colorful, and keep the story moving at a gingerly pace. Their old-fashioned look suits the historical subject.

This is the second time “Sticks ‘n’ Stones ‘n’ Dinosaur Bones” is being published, now by Schiffer Publishing, Philadelphia, with Pixel Mouse House, New York, and available in hardcover.  It was originally published in 2013 by Pixel Mouse House and was selected as a Finalist for American Book Fest’s 2014 Best Children’s Nonfiction and a Finalist for American Book Fest’s 2014 International Book Award for Best Children’s Nonfiction.  It is an Unhinged History Book, the first in a Seuss-inspired series about history and science that Ted is writing and Newland is illustrating for children.




About the Author

Ted Enik has worked as an illustrator for most of the well-known New York publishing houses, applying his versatility to both original art as well as classic and current children’s book characters, including the Magic School Bus, the Eloise books, and the popular “Fancy Nancy I Can Read” series. This is the first picture book Ted has authored. It was first published in 2013 by Pixel Mouse House, New York, and honored as a Finalist in the American Book Fest’s 2014 Best Children’s Nonfiction and a Finalist in American Book Fest’s 2014 International Book Award for Best Children’s Nonfiction. Learn more about his books at unhingedhistory.com and his illustration at tedenik.com.

About the Illustrator

G.F. Newland is a part-time illustrator and the systems administrator at the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY. His doodles have found their way onto buttons, bags, posters, and T-shirts, and have been published by Scholastic, Hachette, and Pixel Mouse House. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and a pet fish named Enki. Visit his website at gfnewland.com.

Schedule of Blog Tour


November 8: Books My Kids Read
November 10: Kid Lit 411
November 11: Shelf Employed
November 12: Frog on a Blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 comments:

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman said...

My mother worked as a scientific illustrator at the Field Museum in Chicago many, many years ago. She had a strong fascination with fossils to the point that she had my father build a showcase in our hall so she could display her many treasures she found while fossil hunting. After reading your review, I know I'm going to fall in love with this book on the spot. Many thanks.

Linda H. said...

“Each paleontologist used less-than-ethical methods to outdo the other – lying, stealing, blackmail, even destroying fossils,” writes Enik in a prologue...

WOW. That is crazy.

But this sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it.

Danielle H. said...

Writing about science topics has always interested me and this picture book is very interesting to me as an adult. I love the detailed illustrations and the topic will definitely get kids excited about this profession.