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THE ULTIMATE DINO-PEDIA by Don Lessem

THE ULTIMATE DINO-PEDIA

By Don Lessem (Author) , Franco Tempesta (Illustrator) , National Geographic (Developer)

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Dec. 14th, 2010
Publisher: National Geographic

Though not quite the dino-pedia to rule them all, this multimedia version of the already-terrific print edition of the same title will certainly set young dinophiles roaring. First and most spectacularly, in about 125 full-screen page images and nearly 700 small index portraits Tempesta’s sharply and credibly detailed dinosaurs pose in brightly colored glory. They can be viewed from angles that show off teeth, scales, beady eyes and size, all to riveting effect. Mirroring the print edition, three separate sections focus, respectively, on 32 meat-eaters, 43 vegetarians and 22 related topics such as dino behavior and habitats, how fossils form and renowned paleontologists. The gallery of one or two screen topical “spreads” is enhanced by 14 video clips and also by (optional) melodramatic audio renditions of the short blocks of descriptive text that pop up on command. The table of contents is constructed as a scrolling set of labeled thumbnails. A menu bar at the top features quick links to the videos, a dinosaur family tree and also the encyclopedia portion of the app, which comprises fact boxes and small images for every genus of dinosaur discovered to date. Despite the enhancement, this is still a work in progress as, with minor exceptions, screen orientation is portrait only, and, aside from one clip in which the author relates an amusing anecdote, the videos are all oddly silent animations of dinosaurs in motion (and all last just 20 seconds or less). Still, the outstanding art and the unmatched breadth of content move this to the head of the Dino-app pack. (iPad reference app. 7-11)