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Category: Prehistory

Some of you may be familiar with the book BANG! The Universe Verse: Book 1 by James Lu Dunbar, which covers the beginning of the universe, stars and galaxies and black holes. Written for all ages to enjoy, the delightful illustrations and rhymes will educate and entertain your family. The second book of his wonderful series has recently been released – It’s Alive! The Universe Verse: Book 2. This picks up where Bang! left off, with the creation of our solar system, Earth, how life has evolved… In full color, this richly illustrated book is a great addition to our studies.

To celebrate, the author has released free PDF versions so everyone can enjoy his books! I’ve included his full email below, which includes the links to his free books. With permission, I’ve posted a few screenshots of his newest book.

It’s Alive! The Universe Verse: Book 2 tells the story of our Earth and how it was that life could have developed here from non-living elements. It covers the formation of our solar system, Earth’s early history, the fundamental principles of evolution and natural selection and the basic structures and systems of life as we know it. And all of it is wrapped in a river of well-written rhyme and richly detailed illustrations. Thanks to the generosity of my Kickstarter backers it is available for free as a PDF eBook, and it has been illustrated in full color.

Please download it and take a look. If you like it, please forward this email to anyone and everyone. I bet you know a lot of people who would find it interesting and would be happy if you sent it to them. And I bet they, in turn, know a lot of people… With your help, this could go viral and people (kids!) everywhere could have access to this wonderful resource.

It’s Alive! The Universe Verse: Book 2

Free Download: It’s Alive! High-Res (80MB)

Free Download: It’s Alive! Low-Res (5MB)

Preview online

Purchase the paperback ($15.95)

BANG! The Universe Verse: Book 1

Free Download: High-Res (30MB)

Free Download: Low-Res (5MB)

Preview online

Purchase the paperback ($12.95)

(These PDF download links will expire eventually. If that happens, just email me at to get a fresh set.)

There’s much more about me and all of my books (including a book of river riddles & a children’s book about calculus) on my website If you really like these books please consider buying a paperback or two. You can also become a fan of Jamie’s Books on Facebook or write a nice review on Amazon. As an independent author, illustrator and publisher with no marketing team or advertising budget, I can use all the help I can get spreading the word.

Many thanks!
Jamie Dunbar


Eventually I’ll begin work on Book 3 of the series, tentatively titled Great Apes!, about the evolution of the human race and the development of civilization. You can follow my progress at my new blog:

Today our family traveled back to prehistoric times where we lived as nomads. We had been struggling to find the usual herds of animals that we followed every year, so we returned to a certain cave to pray for plentiful animals to hunt. This cave was long and dark, but we had the use of fire to see the cave walls, upon which we did our paintings of animals.

Times have been hard for our family lately and the animals that gave us sustenance have been scarce. This cave ceremony we believed would bring more animals back to our area. We each drew animals, using colors like red ochre, hematite and charcoal. We outlined them in black and filled them in with reds, browns, and whites.

Mama was the shaman, and beat the drum while chanting our ritual songs. She also drew a herd of grazing animals.

Daddy remembered our Great Mammoth hunts, where we would hunt the plentiful woolly mammoths. But lately, we haven’t seen any mammoths, which give us food, shelter and clothing. He’s drawing his mammoth in hopes that we can find more of these creatures.

Baby (the youngest in the clan) drew lots of animals, but especially the mammoths. We worked by torchlight that consumed animal fats.


Back to present times…

This family event was so much fun! We have some actual caves on our land, but didn’t want to wake any sleeping bears, so instead we used the closet underneath our basement stairs. It was perfect for our “cave”. It starts out spacious and ends up in a tiny crawl space, just like some of the actual caves the prehistoric people used. We had a tiny lantern as our torchlight and a carefully-tended candle to simulate fire. We put up cardboard on the wall, set out black permanent marker for the outlines and red, brown and white pastel chalks to fill our drawings in.

Cave paintings that were created during the Upper Paleolithic period occurred 40,000 – 10,000 BC. The first cave art was discovered in the 1860s, but not until 1092 was it accepted by anthropologists and art historians.

Below is some cave art of Aurochs (early cattle), in one of the most well-known locations – Lascaux, France. This cave was discovered in 1940 by 4 teenagers and their dog. The paintings are estimated to be 16,000 years old.

Satori and I had so much fun this week! I love having a daughter, I can’t wait to have more children (most likely adoption).

We just finished our Story of the World history lesson, the very first chapter about History and Archaeology. We actually had gone over both very thoroughly way back in May 2009, and one of Satori’s dream jobs is an Archaeologist. Our Archaeology Dig was last spring, which would have been messy to do indoors anyway this winter. Here’s a few pictures from back then, or you can click the above link.

Coming back to the present day, I pulled out our SOTW book. As I read the story, she started doodling on her whiteboard.

A bit worried that she might not be paying attention, I asked her to describe her drawing. She proved she listened to every word, as the items on the ground where from an ancient civilization and the person shown was an archaeologist finding the artifacts in the ground! She also remembered me saying something about learning about the Egyptians soon, as she also included an Egyptian mask, an Egyptian fossil (I don’t think she doesn’t know about mummies yet, or maybe she does), and more. She then begged to learn about Egyptians, but I was not prepared to jump into that yet. We’ll start our Egypt studies in two weeks, have patience honey!

Our spelling lesson started out with her distracted, but I used a bribe of one Nerd candy for each word spelled correctly. (I haven’t used candy as a bribe for half a year, so don’t think this is typical!) At first I didn’t think she was going to get our new spelling rule of how to know when to use a “-CK” or “-K” at the end of a word, but she proved me very wrong as this turned out to be a very enthusiastic lesson of lots of dances, hugs, and of course, a few sugary Nerds! Once she started, she spelled every word correctly – mask, elk, duck, thick, milk, etc…  She begged to spell more and more, and we finished almost 3 Spelling lessons as a consequence. When I said “no more”, she ended with this phrase:

Obviously we haven’t covered the word “great” in our spelling yet, but at least she understood the long e! We have covered “great” in our reading, so I switched the vowels around to show her how to spell “great”, and not a frame of metal bars. 😉

Satori injects humor into her lessons, which is great because I need the laugh now and then. On Monday, in our All About Spelling lesson where we spell on paper, I had asked her to spell “spell”. She doesn’t want me to watch her in the act, so after she wrote it out, she had it all covered up. She then uncovered the “SP” and I said that’s not how to spell it! She giggled crazily and uncovered the teeny tiny word “spell” at the bottom of the page! Lol!

It’s the little things like this that make every day so much fun. I love my family! I love homeschooling!

We’ve said our goodbyes to our extensive Dinosaur studies and moved on to early mammals.

I’m reading from our Usborne History book, while Satori colors in pages out of this book, she LOVES doing this! I myself cannot believe how diverse these Dover Coloring books are, they have one (or more) for every niche topic we study!

Prehistoric Mammals coloring book

Prehistoric Mammals coloring book

Then of course Mom has to buy a few animals to role-play with as we study them. Here we have the obvious Wooly Mammoth, an Amebelodon, and  Arsenotherium. We have a few more smaller prehistoric mammals out of a Prehistoric Creature Toob that I need to get out now.

Prehistoric Mammals hangin' out

Prehistoric Mammals hangin' out

And finally, to pull it all together, we’ve got all kinds of prehistoric mammal read-aloud books, and our favorite DVD series, Walking With… Tonight we will watch Walking With Beasts! I must admit, I got a bit bored with the dinos, and I’m really looking forward to watching this.

Walking with Prehistoric Beasts

Walking with Prehistoric Beasts

Just got back from this spectacular show tonight in Denver – Walking With Dinosaurs!

Here’s one pic before we head to bed:

Mama and Baby Brachiosaur

Mama and Baby Brachiosaur

It’s a bit windy, but here’s a video of Satori earning her Paleontology Badge at Dinosaur Monument last month! She was a wee bit shy, but she completed her pledge!

I realize that I haven’t updated our Prehistory Curriculum lately, and have been getting hits from random searches on our blog – like prehistoric plants, Dunkleosteus, trilobite cookies, Dimetrodon and more. 🙂 We have entered our Dinosaur study month and been enjoying just focusing on dinos. In a few weeks, we’ll be hosting a fabulous Dinosaur party, complete with dino dig, dino egg hunt, Stegosaurus cake and more! If you live near us, have a child interested in dinos, and haven’t been invited yet, let me know. 🙂

Tonight Satori and I played the Dinosaur Excavation Game. Sadly, it was a poorly designed game. It is like the game Operation, except you are to try to excavate fossils our of T-Rex. Touch the sides and he roars!

Dinosaur Excavation Game

Dinosaur Excavation Game

The reasons why we didn’t like it was because it was hard to get the fossils out. They were curved and slippery, it was easier to put them in upside-down so we could get some sort of grip. Secondly, the game stopped roaring after a dozen roars, even though I put new batteries in! (Maybe it had to do with Satori putting the excavation tool in her mouth?) The 36 Dino trivia cards were quite easy for someone into dinosaurs, which could be a good thing for a 4 year old, or a bad thing for an older child (too easy), and Satori was able to name most of the answers  before me even giving her the choices. Oh well. We ended the night playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos!