Dry Bones and Other Fossils book by Dr. Gary ParkerWelcome!
Do you want to introduce your children to the subjects of Fossils and Creation Science, but you need a resource that is packed with information, yet simple enough for children to understand? Do you like to see parents and their children interacting in respectful, real-life conversations about fossils, evolution, and the Bible? Do you enjoy watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations depicting delightful caricatures of inter-millenial characters?
Then Dry Bones and Other Fossils by Dr. Gary Parker may be the book you need.
|Dry Bones and Other Fossils
By Gary Parker & Mary M. ParkerCrank up your imagination and join the Parker family on their annual fossil-hunting adventure! With this colorfully illustrated and cheerfully narrated guide, you’ll discover how long it took the Grand Canyon to form and how fossils actually contradict evolution theory. Great for homeschoolers, this biblically based guide by a real paleontologist answers your kids’ hardest questions—and your questions, too! 80 pages, hardcover from Master Books.
Welcome To My Review of This Book
Dry Bones and Other Fossils is co-authored by Dr. Parker’s wife, Mary Parker. It was first published in 1979. In 2004, I purchased the eighth printing (June 2003) from the two of them when we attended their week-long “Creation Education Vacation” at his Creation Adventures Museum.
In this review, I want to
- give a thorough explanation of the main features of this book,
- describe the story line and illustrations,
- give examples of its dialogue, and
- list my pros and cons.
Product: Dry Bones and Other Fossils by Gary Parker Review
Cheapest Place to Buy: Click on link above that is highlighted
Size of Product: 8.5 x 11.5 x 7/16 inches \ 21 x 30 x 1 cm
Product includes: One hardcover book
Grade Level: For independent academic use – grades 2 – 7
My Rating: 9.0 out of 10
This book starts with an introduction to the Parker family. The top one-third of this two-page spread is text. In a friendly, conversational style, Dr. Parker is speaking to us, the readers, and inviting us to grab a small pick hammer, a backpack, and our imagination as the family takes us on a series of fossil hunting trips. The lower two-thirds of the introduction features a colorful pen-and-ink and watercolor depiction of the six members of the Parker family, each drawn with specific features, clothing, and facial expressions indicative of each one’s personality.
I find their personalities humorous! (and true-to-life; we interacted with Doctor and Mary Parker and their oldest daughter during the Creation Education Adventure.)
Chapter One – What Are Fossils and How Are They Formed?
First Stop – A road cut in southern Indiana
Throughout Dry Bones and Other Fossils, the text consists of dialogue between Dad (Dr. Parker) and one of his children. In chapter one, David, who is third-born and about eight years old, brings Dad something rock-hard that looks like an ocean snail. In experienced teacher fashion, Dad asks David what it looks like. The two dialogue back-and-forth in a discussion of three types of fossils – a petrified fossil of a former-living creature, a fossil formed from a mold of the former-living creature, and a fossil formed from a cast of a former-living creature.
Large, amusing illustrations depict what the characters are saying and thinking.
“Probably a Flood Did It”
The Parkers are Christians who believe in a young earth and in a world-wide flood. Their conversations naturally flow from this belief. To Dr. Parker’s credit, he does not take a dogmatic, offensive stand on the issue. Interspersed throughout 80 pages, his speech is a balance between casual statements about his belief, and humble declarations such as
- “It looks like it”
- “I think…”
- If that’s so,…”
- “It seems to be.”
- “That’s what we think.”
- “That makes sense to me!”
- “Could be!”
- “Nobody knows for certain.”
The readers don’t feel like they’re being commanded to accept what they read, but rather, to think about it critically.
Later, in chapter five, David is told by Dad,
- “Don’t just take my word for it, Son; you should study this science for yourself…”
Each Chapter Ends With…
A spiritual idea that connects what the kids are discovering about fossils with a truth from the Bible. These connections are seamlessly added to the story line and leave the readers with gratitude for what God has done and what He promises to do in the future.
There are no actual prayers in this book.
Chapter Two – What Kinds of Living Things Are Found As Fossils?
After arriving back home, Doctor Parker speaks again to the readers, telling us how his youngest daughter, Diane, had so many questions, probably like we had, about the fossils they’d brought home. We are invited to come along with the two of them to the Creation Museum to see the different fossil animals and plants in the museum. We rev-up our imaginations again!
The Creation Museum at the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, California
A major point in this chapter is that the fossils look exactly, or almost exactly, like those same creatures still alive today. Fossils of extinct plants and animals are discussed, and the question of why they became extinct is considered. The subjects of dinosaurs, Noah’s Ark, and giant-sized pre-flood creatures are here, too.
Chapter Three – Why Are Fossils Found in Groups?
The Parker family takes the readers along to a fossil hunt in Alberta, Canada where many bones are found. Here at this site, we get to “hear” Dr. Parker discuss things his oldest daughter, Dana, discovers. In this chapter, we’re introduced to
- wrapping bones in plaster bandages before moving them
- groups of fossils found in different ecological zones
- how coal is formed
- separate, distinct layers of sediment
- hollow-stemmed trees floating upright in mats of vegetation floating in the ocean
Chapter Four – How Old Are Fossils?
“Nobody knows for sure” is the first response Dr. Parker gives to this question asked by his second daughter, Debbie, who is about ten years old. They discuss
- sudden burial of a living creature under a heavy load of mud or sand
- a horse bone that’s rock-hard at one end and soft and rotting on the other
- thousands of jellyfish prints in a 500 kilometer rock layer across the Australian desert
Debbie and her parents then take a hike in the Grand Canyon. We “hear” them discuss
- rock layers with smooth, straight lines between them
- huge, rounded boulders that came from far away
- animal tracks
- tilted rock layers
- the eruption of Mount St. Helens that produced a mini grand canyon similar to the Grand Canyon
- polystratic fossils of tree trunks and large shellfish
- formation of stalactites and stalagmites
- an un-decayed dead bat encased within a stalagmite
- records of people who saw dinosaurs
- a reason some people say fossils are millions of years old
Chapter Five – Evolution or Creation?
David asks Dr. Parker what evolution is. With more colorful illustrations to help depict the conversation between David and his dad, this chapter discusses The Four C’s: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, and Christ.
These subject are also addressed:
- Definition of evolution
- Definition of creation
- What a missing link is
- What a missing link might look like
- What is found in the fossil record
- Archaeopteryx as a missing link
- What Darwin thought about fossils
- Uranium dating of fossils
- Sharing your own convictions with meekness and gentleness
Chapter Six – Fossil Collecting Tips
- Where to hunt
- Legal concerns
- How to recognize a fossil
- What to take for collecting fossils
- How to do plaster jacketing
- How to understand fossils
- How to display and use fossils effectively
- Leading a child to faith in Jesus Christ
Recommended Creation Science Reading List
Dr. Gary and Mary Parker list about a dozen resources specifically for children and then another eight or ten for high school and adult readers.
Pros and Cons on Dry Bones and Other Fossils
- Easy to read. Each chapter has just two characters who speak. The text when Dr. Parker speaks is normal; the text of his child is in italics. Two readers could take turns reading aloud as one of the two characters.
- Delightful, easy-to-interpret illustrations, often with animals having amusing expressions and doing funny things! My favorite animal is the ocean snail that pops up on multiple pages
- Larger book that’s easy to handle. My copy is hard-cover
- Portrays a family that enjoys each other’s company
- Addresses many of the issues and concerns surrounding the fossil record
- Provides pronunciation help on unfamiliar words
- Provides a simple introduction to fossils and Creation and Evolution
- The illustrations have a 70’s feel. Some people think they’re cheesy.
- Older students might not find the illustrations appealing.
- Looks a little like a comic book
I can wholeheartedly recommend Dry Bones and Other Fossils by Dr. Gary Parker, because it is a thorough introduction to the basics of fossils and creation science for people of any age. Even very young children should enjoy the illustrations as the text is read aloud to them. Reading one chapter at a time, together as a family, can provide adequate material for more in-depth conversations about the Bible and Creation.
I especially appreciate the emphasis on getting the readers to think about what they see and hear on these subjects.
I hope you’ll give Dry Bones and Other Fossils a read and let me know if you agree with my recommendation. You can easily get your very own copy through the link near the beginning of this post.
And if you have any questions or just want to share what you think, feel free to comment. That would be awesome!
If you liked this review, please head on over to Geography Songs Sing Around the World Review for another educational idea.