McIsaac’s writing may appeal to the Sasquatch believers, but it leaves open-minded nonbelievers with precious few facts to...

Author McIsaac relays stories from the Dene Nation about creatures they call spirits—and he calls pterodactyls—in an updated version of his debut nonfiction work.

“My understanding of spirits is not their understanding of spirits,” McIsaac writes, acknowledging cultural differences between him and native people, even as he takes the elders’ tales as proof the pterodactyl still exists. The so-called devil bird isn’t alone. McIsaac makes a case for the continued existence of several other prehistoric creatures, including the woolly mammoth, and he also argues the case for Sasquatch, dire wolves and dragons. McIsaac takes a lot on faith, and he asks the reader to do the same. While his theories start out clearly labeled as such, he quickly layers on more theories that only work if the reader accepts the first suppositions—and a number of thirdhand accounts—as fact. Suddenly, there are mammoths hiding in caves and pterodactyls that glow in the dark and generate smoke screens. McIsaac’s style comes across more as storytelling than scientific, especially when he assures the reader that “the odds of finding the Plesiosaur are far better than the odds of winning the lottery.” The final chapter diverges into a denunciation of North American society. McIsaac writes, “Woolly mammoths are a magnificent species and a part of our wildlife. The capitalists do not want us to be aware of them.” These tangents detract from the book’s original purpose and might leave skeptics wondering if his agenda involves more than stories about long-extinct wildlife.

McIsaac’s writing may appeal to the Sasquatch believers, but it leaves open-minded nonbelievers with precious few facts to hang their hats on.

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1466950269

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013


Setting story aside, the primary duty of Bluebonnet, an armadillo, is to aid and abet the public relations efforts of the Texas tourism industry. The only issue that could be construed as a character-driven conflict in this title is that Bluebonnet has missed Marshall’s Fire Ant Festival. Her real purpose, however, is to visit the Marshall train depot. Even when a fence bars her from entering that duly-described edifice, the fetching armadillo’s problem melts away under the benign gaze of T.P., a cat whose name stands for the Texas & Pacific. The two become ever-smilin’ buddies as T.P. tells Bluebonnet all manner of things of interest mostly to Texans and tourists. Texas schoolchildren helped mount a campaign to save the depot from demolition, readers learn, although they don’t learn why. Vincent’s illustrations offer a sense of the depot’s early-1900s bustle, however, and his critters are cute as can be. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56554-311-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999



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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

Close Quickview