I was recently given a paperback copy of The Clues Are in the Poo: The Story of Dinosaur Scientist Karen Chin. I was excited because I am a fan of teaching kids science in a fun way and seriously, don’t most kids like poo? Now, maybe I wouldn’t have been all that “into poo” back in my younger years, but I know most kids are. And granted, as an adult, I have learned many things by taking a humorous or less traditional format (and yes with the use of toots, poo and even slimy and oogy stuff). Now granted, Karen Chin and Jane Kurtz’s book was not as humorous as I would have liked, and there was a little bit of a bump in the flow of things, but this memoir of how one woman became a Scientist of Dinosaur Poop and it works for the aged aimed at.
It is a picture book, and in a traditional look for them, but older (up to around 8 or young 9) could enjoy. It is not a “just the facts” kind of book yet there are some facts sprinkled in. It is not your traditional autobiography or biography, but neither is it your traditional dinosaur book. It is a book to show that Chinn was not interested in dinosaurs, at first, and how Chinn did not look like the other scientists, but still let her passion and determination take her where she wanted to go. It is mostly a book about looking, seeing, trying, and working hard, but having fun as well.
Francisco Riobolos III illustrates the book. While they are not cartoonish, they lack a smidgen of reality to them. There is decent color and details, but there could be a smidgen more of both. Overall, things are cozy and work for what is needed to support the text; which is available in both hardcover and paper.
The take away that the authors want you to have is that everything is connected. Therefore, we see how the past, present and even the future can be influenced by information scientists learn from things such as studying poop. It also shows that it does not matter what you look like (Chin is African-American, Asian, Native people and European and looked nothing like scientists of the time) you can achieve your dreams. Extras are included to further the reading adventure.