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WHEN BUGS WERE BIG, PLANTS WERE STRANGE, AND TETRAPODS STALKED THE EARTH by Hannah Bonner Kirkus Star

WHEN BUGS WERE BIG, PLANTS WERE STRANGE, AND TETRAPODS STALKED THE EARTH

A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs

From the When… series, volume 1

By Hannah Bonner (Author) , Hannah Bonner (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7922-6326-X
Publisher: National Geographic

A breezy look at the flora and fauna of 250–320 million years ago. Some of it, notably the hardy cockroach, is still with us; more, including giant, treelike lycopods (“Their young looked like hairy telephone poles, the full-grown ones like something out of a Dr. Seuss book”) or the many-legged, six-foot-long Arthropleura—shown here next to a startled modern sunbather for scale—vanished in a mysterious mass extinction. Bonner surrounds a lively, specific narrative punctuated, but not weighted down, by tongue-twisting scientific names with a gallery of simply drawn, precisely detailed land and sea life—along with the occasional single or strip cartoon featuring, for instance, a toothy prehistoric meteorologist tracking climatic changes, or a primeval newspaper bearing the headline: WATERPROOF EGG A REALITY!” She then sums up the entire history of life on this planet with an illustrated timeline (featuring a bowl of “Primordial Soup”), and closes with cogent suggestions for further paper and Web resources. Dinosaurs tend to get all the press; young readers who wonder where they came from will find some answers here, memorably delivered. (Nonfiction. 8-12)