In a veritable visual panorama of dinosaurs, eight classic dinosaurs are presented in two ways: first as skeletons and then as living creatures. On the upper right side of the first oversized white two-page spread are gigantic red capital letters: BRACHIOSAURUS. Stretched across the page is a painting of the skeleton of that long-necked reptile, done in fine black line and grey-toned inks. On the lower right hand page, is the translation of its name: "arm lizard." Turn the page, and you zip back in time to see the same dinosaur, stretched across the page in the same position, but all fleshed out. Literally. There's the massive fellow, alive and munching on leaves, set against a prehistoric landscape, with a volcano steaming in the distance, and other Brachiosaurs lumbering in a lake. Children will recognize and identify, perhaps, the three pterosaur-ish creatures flying by, the toothy T. Rex-like creature lurching toward a smaller dinosaur, and maybe that's an Ankylosaurus munching on ferns.* It's an arresting scene, in gorgeous full color inks, that will transport readers back to the old days. The real old days. They will have a fine old time flipping the pages back and forth, comparing bones to body, and saying all those gloriously tongue-twisty dinosaur names. It's one big wow.
Subsequent two-page spreads cover familiar and not so familiar friends: Parasaurolophus ("crested lizard"), Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Spinosaurus ("spine lizard"), Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus rex. The handsome pictures portray a lake-filled background of plants, trees, dinosaur babies hatching out of eggs, and lots of other wildlife. This is a cocoa table book that will inspire children to draw their own dinosaur-filled scenes. The final pages are a real treat: there's a paragraph about each dinosaur, including a phonetic pronunciation (you could try saying Parasaurolophus five times, fast), and thumbnail sketch of each scene, with all of the additional dinosaurs (32 different ones, four or five per scene) labeled with color-coded dots. (*That's where you discover that those dinosaurs you thought you knew in the first spread were actually Rhamphorhynchus, Allosaurus, and Gargoyleosaurus.) If there's a natural history museum in your area, your kids will want to go. If not, Munro provides, in her bibliography, six online sources for a virtual trip, including the American Museum of Natural History at: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/fossils/ and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History at: http://paleobiology.si.edu/dinosaurs/.
Marshall Cavendish , 2009
Suggested Ages: 3-7