Cam Jansen #3: The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones

by David A. Adler

Other authorsSusanna Natti (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1992



Local notes

PB Adl (c.1)






Scholastic Inc (1992), 57 pages


When she notices some bones missing from a dinosaur skeleton exhibited in the museum, a young girl with a photographic memory tries to discover who has been taking them and why.


Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — 1989)


Original language


Physical description

57 p.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kyoder06
Age appropriateness: primary, intermediate
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Media: N/A (pen at times)

This is a great early chapter book for children. It is short and yet grabs the readers attention in order to find out if Cam will solve the mystery. It is a good example of realistic fiction because while it
Show More
is not based directly off of an individual, the events that take place can and do occur. People do have photographic memories and detectives solve mysteries all the time. While kids don’t usually solve mysteries, the events in this book could be done by young people.
Show Less
LibraryThing member nlevanen09
Critique: This is a good example of a realistic fiction because Cam Jansen and her friend Eric are able to catch a bone thief from the museum they visit due to Cam's photographic memory. The events of this book are something that could possibly happen and some people do have photographic
Show More
Point of View: This is a good example of an Omniscient point of view in which the narrator know a lot about the characters. This is how we know about Cam's memory, the missing dinosaur bones and what happened to them. You can imagine a different story if it was told from a first person point of view, how the reader might miss out on some important details.
Grade Level: Intermediate
Show Less
LibraryThing member mlucas09
Summary: Cam Janson has a photographic memory and while on a field trip at a museum she is able to use to to help solve a mystery of missing dinosaur bones. In the end she, along with her friend Eric, discover who stole the bones and are applauded for their help in solving the mystery.
Show More

Genre: This is a good example of realistic fiction book because the characters are all believable. Young readers would be able to relate easily and identify with Cam and her friends and the things that they experience.
Plot: The plot of this story is fairly typical to most chapter books. The story begins with no real issue but then once Cam notices that the bones are missing the mystery is unveiled, the plot continues as she tries to solve the mystery, the climax occurs when she figures out who the culprit is and the resolution occurs when they are discovered by the museum director. The plot flows nicely and is easy to follow.
Show Less
LibraryThing member athena.j
The genre of this book is realistic fiction. This early chapter book follows Cam Jansen, who has a photographic memory on an adventure in a museum. When she and her friend Eric realize that some of the dinosaur bones are missing, they go on a hunt to find them. I would encourage 2nd or 3rd graders
Show More
to read the Cam Jansen series as an early chapter book option.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Miss_Annie_O
This realistic fiction follows a little girl who has a photographic memory. Her class is going to the museum to see dinosaur bones! During the tour, Cam looks at one of the little dinosaur and realizes that it is missing three bones from its tail... Cam was able to tell because the last time she
Show More
was there, she took a mental picture of it and then took a picture of the one on display now and compares them side-by-side in her head. When she tries to tell the tour guide about it, she just tells her to be quiet and moves on. Cam needs to find some way to prove it, so when her friend Eric finds a postcard with a picture of the dinosaur on it, she compares it with the original picture in her head and discovers that something is wrong with it! She and Eric decide to hide in the museum after closing to see if they can find who is taking the bones... However, the two are soon caught and kicked out of the place. Just then, they see a milk delivery truck coming in, but it's not the same milk brand that the museum uses! The friends hide and see someone else getting into the truck so they decide to follow it. They go down street after street until they discover the house that the truck is parked at. When they peek in the window, they see more dinosaur bones and then a man walked in, followed by the tour guide in the purple dress! Cam and Eric panic and try to get their bikes, but they were caught instead! When they did escape, they had to ride their bikes down streets until they reach a gas station and lose the milk truck. They are able to go in and find a phone booth so they can call the director of the museum. He meets them at the gas station and follows them to the house where he discovers for himself that one of his employees was stealing dinosaur bones and replacing them with plaster ones, in hopes of later "finding" them in her next dig. The museum director took back the bones and called the police about the thieving team, and all was right in the world.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Kmacuk15
Early Chapter Book: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Age Appropriateness: intermediate
Media: pencil, colored pencil
Review: This book is about a girl, named Cam Jansen who goes on a field trip with her class to a museum. While she is there she remembers looking at a specific dinosaur the last time
Show More
she was there with her family and how the last time she counted the bones on this dinosaur to the time she is counting them now, she realizes there are bones that are missing. She spends the next couple of days investigating where the missing bones went and who took them and why.
Critique: This is a good contemporary realistic fiction early chapter book because it teaches kids about dinosaurs and about who they are. This book is fiction because kids cannot investigate bones being stolen from a museum. However, kids can go to a museum and look at what dinosaurs are in the museum, what makes this book fiction is because kids would not be able to stay in a museum after hours, and would not be able to investigate the missing of dinosaurs.
Show Less
LibraryThing member NMiller22
When she notices some bones missing from a dinosaur skeleton exhibited in the museum, a young girl with a photographic memory tries to discover who has been taking them and why. Book #3
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When Cam Jansen and her best friend Eric visit the local museum on a class field trip, the fifth-grade sleuth with a photographic memory realizes that there are three bones missing from the Coelophysis skeleton. Although she attempts to notify the museum guide, her concern is brushed aside. Cam and
Show More
Eric return to the museum after school, but their attempt to hide in the display room, to see what is going on, is foiled. Will they manage to discover where the missing dinosaur bones have gone?

The third entry in David A. Adler's beginning chapter-book series about Cam and her mysterious adventures, Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones was first published in 1980, and is a book that I recall reading as a girl, along with its companions. Some of the information is dated, particularly the description of the Brachiosaurus as the biggest dinosaur. This may have been true at that time of publication, but more current research and discovery would indicate that the Titanosaur or Agentinosaur can claim that honor. There is also a dated feeling when it comes to the freedom Cam and Eric have, to bicycle all around town on their own, without notifying their parents. Leaving these issues aside, this is an engaging, fairly non-threatening mystery for beginning chapter-book readers, particularly those who love dinosaurs.
Show Less




(29 ratings; 3.4)
Page: 0.5403 seconds