The Skull by Christian Darkin
Dinosaurs – the passion of every toddler. But sometimes this interest remains until the child is a confident reader. With the wonderful dinosaur skull on the cover, this book is going to catch the eye of all of these ‘grown up’ kids. But this is no silly time travel adventure that mixes humans with dinosaurs. No this is a scientifically accurate piece of historical fiction that shows a real understanding, not only of the Jurassic world, but also the changing nature of man as he grows to understand his world.
The book opens with the death of a dinosaur about 144 million years ago. The skull is discovered in medieval times by a young man learning to read and write. But in these superstitious times, dragons and demons are all too real and the man suffers for his belief in the reality of this long extinct beast. Over time the Marchant family revisits the skull and interprets it’s importance in line with their culture and scientific understanding. Somehow I have managed to make this sound like a dry treatise. Believe me it is more like Dr Who – you never know when the story will continue, or where the adventure will lead.
I really enjoyed this short little book filled with adventures through time. But now that I am reflecting on the reading experience, I wonder if the average 9-13 kid will have enough historical understanding to pick up on the challenges faced by the various Marchants. But then, maybe this book will trigger interest in different historical periods.