Books by Douglas Henderson

ASTEROID IMPACT by Douglas Henderson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

To eye-widening scenes of an asteroid blazing down from the heavens and creating a titanic fireball, Henderson (Dinosaur Ghosts: The Mystery of Coelophysis, 1997) matches a suitably dramatic, written account of how the Age of Dinosaurs probably came to its precipitate end. Explanations are lucid and accessible, appropriately scientific while being fascinating reading. Though this is nowhere near the first book for younger readers that reconstructs that sixty-five-million-year-old catastrophe, the author does provide a dinosaur's-eye view of its first moments, discusses its long-term atmospheric and climatic effects, and points out that it probably brought on the age of mammals, in which we humans are "one story." Henderson's incredible paintings depict a host of prehistoric land and sea creatures with vividly colored skin patterns and his spectacular scenes of billowing flames, clouds of dust, and falling snow and ash are breathtaking. He closes with a question-and-answer section that recounts the modern discovery of the blast's geological and paleontological evidence. (index, short bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
DINOSAUR GHOSTS by J. Lynett Gillette
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1997

An essential purchase—Gillette (The Search for Seismosaurus, 1994) has written another involving book about a topic of guaranteed interest to children. The book opens in 1947, when paleontologists dug up tons of tightly packed bones in the canyons near Ghost Ranch, N.M.; since then they have studied and puzzled over the cause of the sudden extinction of the speedy, dog-sized dinosaurs called Coelophysis, who roamed New Mexico 225 million years ago. Gillette demonstrates the scientific method, postulating a hypothesis and then investigating it against the evidence found in rocks and fossils. Did a sticky pit like La Brea trap the little dinosaurs? Was it a volcanic eruption? Asteroids? Poisoned water? She tests each hypothesis, presents the most likely explanation, given current evidence, and concludes that the answer is not yet final: ``Scientists are always ready to change their ideas to fit what they learn.'' The paintings by Henderson are satisfying, full- color renderings of the dinosaurs, their habitat, and the catastrophe envisioned in each hypothesis. Photos of excavators and bones provide additional intrigue. (glossary, index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-12) Read full book review >
HOW DINOSAURS CAME TO BE by Patricia Lauber
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1996

The dinosaurs didn't just appear out of nowhere. They, like humans, had relatives. Lauber (Fur, Feathers, and Flippers, 1994, etc.) helps readers put together a sort of family tree describing the creatures that preceded dinosaurs and mammals. The book begins with a look at the large amphibians that were alive during the Permian period, 286 million years ago, when the continents were connected in larger land masses, e.g., the Pangaea. Lauber explains how later, during the Middle Triassic period, the therapsids—a cross between reptiles and mammals—became the dominant life form. But instead of proliferating, they died out, leaving another group, the thecodonts, to branch off into the direct ancestors of dinosaurs. This history isn't covered well in other children's books. Lauber not only names names, she puts the creatures into an evolutionary context. Henderson's illustrations are superb, conveying real information as well as conjuring an active picture of these beasts in readers' imaginations. The book has dull moments—lists of multisyllabic names of creatures and their barely known attributes can get tedious to all but fanatics on the subject—but it's otherwise an exquisite prelude to the rest of the dinosaur canon. (charts, diagrams, chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
LIVING WITH DINOSAURS by Patricia Lauber
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 30, 1991

Sophisticated dinosaur enthusiasts will enjoy this journey back in time to when ``We can hear the wind in the ancient forests, feel the warmth of the sun, and sniff the salt air of a vanished sea that covered what is now the Great Plains.'' The time-traveler reader can observe a giant crocodile Albertosaurus dozing in the sun, watch newly hatched Maiasaura scramble for the food their mother brings, and sigh when a meat-eating Troodon snatches up a small Orodromeus. As illustration, Henderson has created 26 believable, full-color scenes, authentic reconstructions based on fossil records. Prior knowledge is essential for full enjoyment: there is no time line, scientific names are not included, scale is not provided—readers must look elsewhere for ``the rest of the story.'' Still, evocative and appealing. Index. (Nonfiction. 8-12+) Read full book review >