From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-- Chicagoan Alec Wright, 11, spends the summer with his archeologist mother at a dig in Montana headed by his grandfather, a famous paleontologist nicknamed "Dr. Dinosaur." The boy's search is threefold: to dig for dinosaur bones; to solve the mystery of valuable missing fossils; and to discover why his grandfather is so cold and distant toward him. Carris conveys with excitement the awe of finding a 70 million-year-old fossil and palatably provides technical information about paleontology, including suggestions for where to find such digs. Alec's relationship with his grandfather, and the approval he seeks from this initially gruff man, are touchingly and realistically portrayed. While the mystery's innocent solution is difficult to believe and anticlimactic, the plot moves along swiftly. --Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old Alec's lifelong hurt over his grandfather's rejection comes to the fore when he and his mother accompany her dad on a summer dinosaur dig in Montana: Valuable bones disappear, and Alec--torn by his angry wish to win ``Dr. Dinosaur's'' love and respect and by a desire to stop the thefts- -plays detective. His sometimes dangerous investigations reveal that nearly everyone in camp has both opportunity and motive. Gradually, he also learns more about the past and the painful loss motivating his grandfather's behavior. By summer's end, the mystery is solved, and Alec and his grandfather have grown close enough to agree that Alec will rejoin the dig the next year. This well-crafted story, nicely seasoned with well-integrated information on excavating fossils, offers much to admire: a large, well-individualized cast; the interaction between Alec and his mother; the evolving relationship between Alec and his grandfather, realistically portrayed; fine suspense when Alec confronts some suspects; and humor when friend Rina joins in. A good lead-in to Conrad's My Daniel (1989) and Lasky's Bone Wars (1988), both for somewhat older readers. Note about joining a dig; glossary. (Fiction. 8-12) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.