MAMMOTHS AND MASTODONS

TITANS OF THE ICE AGE

Based on published research and interviews with working scientists, Bardoe presents a lively and engrossing case study in how paleontologists examine both ancient and modern clues for insights into the diets, physical development and behavior of extinct animals. Cousins to modern elephants, mammoths and mastodons once roamed large portions of the Earth, but for reasons that are not completely understood (climate change? predation by early humans? disease?) vanished relatively suddenly. Focusing particularly on tantalizing remnants like the 55 fossilized skeletons found near one sinkhole in South Dakota and “Lyuba,” the well preserved “prehistoric popsicle” discovered in 2007 in Siberia, the author presents both facts and educated guesses—while leaving it clear that there is much still to be learned. Illustrated with bright color photos and painted reconstructions, this should be a big draw for readers who might struggle with the greater level of specific anatomical detail in Sandra Markle’s Outside and Inside Woolly Mammoths (2007). (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8413-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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GIGANTIC!

HOW BIG WERE THE DINOSAURS?

O’Brien celebrates 14 prehistoric monsters by presenting each with a modern object or a human, thereby giving readers information about the size of these giants. Dinosaurs, in full-color and full-snarl, dominate the double-page layouts as they frolic and menace an airplane, fire truck, tank, automobile, and assorted people. For every creature, O’Brien provides the name, its meaning, and a brief line of text. Three of the creatures presented are not dinosaurs at all—Quetzalcoatlus, a pterosaur, Phobosuchus, a relative of the crocodiles, and Dinichthys, a bony fish—which the author mentions in the back matter. The illustrations are not drawn to scale, e.g., if Spinosaurus is really 49 feet long, as the text indicates, the car it is shown next to would appear to be 30 feet long. Readers may have to puzzle over a few scenes, but will enjoy browsing through this book, from the dramatic eyeball view of a toothy Tyrannosaurus rex on the cover to the final head-on glare from a Triceratops. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5738-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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REIGN OF THE SEA DRAGONS

Despite occasional gore in the pictures and section headings like “Permian Wipeout” and “The Ichthyosaur Café,” this look at marine reptiles of the Mesozoic Era will have more appeal for serious young proto-paleontologists than fans of violent, bloody action. Taking up Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs and Mosasaurs in turn, Collard describes what the fossil record tells scientists about the probable diets, habits and distinctive physical structures of each type of predator, then closes with speculations about why each became extinct. Along with full-page color portraits to open each chapter, Plant supplies delicately shaded, finely detailed pencil drawings that range from full fossil skeletons to close-ups of toothy heads and, startlingly, a gracefully drifting half-eaten plesiosaur. More detailed, if also more visually sedate, than Caroline Arnold’s Giant Sea Reptiles of the Dinosaur Age (2007), illustrated by Laurie Caple, this look at the animals that sat atop the oceanic food chain for tens of millions of years makes a solid addition to the dino-shelves. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58089-124-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2008

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