Sticks N’ Stones N’ Dinosaur Bones by Ted Enik and G.F. Newland
Age Range: 4 and up
Series: Unhinged History (Book 1)
Paperback: 42 pages
Publisher: Pixel Mouse House; 1st edition (June 12, 2013)
Genre: Picture Book
Source: From author for review
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the Book:
This first book in Ted Enik `n G.F Newland’s “Unhinged History” series is a ripping yarn – full of adventure and deceit – that brings to life the best-known public spat in all of Paleontology: the bitter rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh that became known as “The Bone Wars.” Lively and witty rhymes plus beautifully demented illustrations by Newland reveal how the paleontologists’ infamous rivalry began and how their mutual obsession with outdoing and ruining one another spun out of control.
About the Author:
Author/illustrator Ted Enik has worked for most of the well-known publishing houses in New York, applying his versatility to both original art as well as classic and current children’s book characters. The artist for the beloved Fancy Nancy “I Can Read™” series, Enik was tapped to fill Hilary Knight’s venerable shoes by illustrating the latest Eloise hardcover, Eloise in Hollywood. He is happily at work writing a series of Suess-inspired unhinged history and science books.
About the Artist:
G. F. Newland works at the School of Visual Arts, plays in a power pop band called the Thigh Highs, and is a freelance illustrator. This is his first book for children. He lives in a tiny Brooklyn apartment with an even tinier deceased cat that is really small, comparatively speaking.
I really like this book! In it we meet two personalities from paleontology’s history and experience a fictionalized account of their race to outdo each other.
The writing is done in rhyme, which I love because it’s so much fun to read. It flows well and has a nice rhythm. I like all the wacky phrases that the author used, and the made up dinosaurs the characters found. I particularly liked the big “discoveries” the two rivals came up with. I couldn’t help but laugh at those. The illustrations are are just as good as the writing. They are really expressive and chuck full of personality.
The book is quite long. It’s definitely for older kids (ages 4 and up). Your child needs to be old enough to comprehend the story and what’s happening. I read it to my kids and my kindergartener loved it and has asked to read it multiple times (which we did). My three year old wandered away half way through. So it may be too long for a preschooler, but it’s perfect for kids in kindergarten and the lower grades of elementary.
Interview with Ted Enik:
Q. Why did you use another illustrator for your book instead of illustrating it yourself?
A. The truth is I wanted to explore a whole new avenue of kidsbook work. One that I could keep mostly-separated from the day-to-day illustration jobs I do.
I also really enjoy the process of collaboration. Combining abilities with another creative person, being willing to share in the building of a new “3rd-Party Baby,” can be incredibly exciting and rewarding.
Sticking to just the writing of “Sticks `n Bones” worked-out wonderfully.
Q. Do you have plans to write more children’s books?
A. Yep! Gerry (“Sticks `n Stones'” amazing illustrator, GF Newland) and I have a series of “Unhinged History” books planned. (http://unhingedhistory.com/)
#2 is about the history of UFO sitings and it’s titled, ufoOMG!
#3 is about holding séances and talking to ghosts. That one’s called, Knock-Knock. Who’s Dead?
And #4, the text I’m working on now, re-tells the story of the original deep-sea-diving pioneers. It’s so new we don’t even have a title for it.
Q. Have you ever seen a real dinosaur bone?
A. Sure have. When the weather is good I can walk across NYC’s Central Park and visit the dino-bones at The American Museum of Natural History.
Q. What is your favorite dinosaur?
A. That’s pretty easy, check the beginning and the back of the book. The Elasmosaurus, or the Plesiosaurus, the Macroplata — the sea-going dinos, the Loch Ness Monster types.
One of the things that got me interested in the real “Bone Wars” story in the first place was it’s dispute over which end of a dino-skeleton a skull should be re-attached to. The headless fossil in question was an Elasmosaurus skeleton; its long neck-bone and the tail-bone look a lot a like.
Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A. Does Time Travel count? “I’ll hold your kite string for you if you like, Mr. Franklin.”
Q. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
A. Coffee. Since I was a kid.
Q. What’s the best part about writing for children?
A. To be really-really honest, I’m writing for one kid primarily: my geeky, Junior Paleontologist, Marine Biologist, UFO believing, monster-movie loving 10-yr-old self. Of course, that Kid Self likes to share, so the more fellow-readers the merrier.
Find the Book:
One More Thing:
What a fun interview! Thanks Ted, for stopping by to answer some questions. In case there are any kids out there wondering what an elasmosaurus is, Wikipedia has some really great information about the dinosaur.