From the When… series , Vol. 3

Both casual and confirmed fans will devour this delicious blend of fact and foolery with relish.

More standup-style paleontology to follow When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm (2007).

Here Bonner chronicles developments in the Triassic Period, during which life got a fresh lease on the planet in the wake of the massive Permian extinction. She tracks an explosion of biological diversity as the oceans were repopulated, lush forests grew and the dominant kinds of land animals went from clumsy-looking therapsids to sleek archosaurian dinosaurs and proto-crocodiles. Early mammals are already waiting in the wings, and a swelling chorus of insects (“We eat pollen, we drink sap, / We do the hungry insect rap”) make up a “bug buffet.” In the deep, toothy sharks, ichthyosaurs and other predators put in appearances—hovering, in the illustration, over a tempting platter of neatly arranged fish, clams and cephalopods. The author neatly dishes up a multi-course feast of polysyllabic monikers and tasty tidbits of data (“Later British mammals drank tea and ate scones, but these mouse-size [Morganucodon] ate bugs instead”) to go with her cartoon menagerie. The book closes with a serpentine timeline of prehistory (featuring appropriately placed plugs for each of the previous books in the series) and both adult- and child-level leads to further resources.

Both casual and confirmed fans will devour this delicious blend of fact and foolery with relish. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0862-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012


From the Inside... series

Aimed directly at confirmed young dino-fans, this pleasantly specific overview covers not only the dinosaurs' distinctive physical characteristics (the authors include modern birds in the group) but the work of paleontologists in both field and lab, the types and typical life cycles of what are carefully dubbed “non-avian” dinos within each “clade,” the mass extinction of 65,000,000 years ago (properly noted as likely due to several causes, not just an asteroid impact) and how new discoveries have refined theories about wings and feathers. Extended onto several single and double gatefolds, the art mixes small color photos with soft-edged paint-and-pencil reconstructions of bones, individual live portraits and prehistoric herds in natural settings. New York’s American Museum of Natural History gets several plugs in the main narrative and the closing, multimedia resource list (two of the authors are employees), but that won’t limit the audience for this above-average series entry. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4027-7074-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010



From the Ancient Earth Journal series

Eye candy for both serious and casual dinophiles, with an admixture of facts and fancies.

Two accomplished paleoartists invite armchair paleontologists to go eye to eye with 21 dinosaurs and flying reptiles.

Each chosen dino is presented in a two- to four-page gallery of full-body color portraits supplemented with sepia close-ups of claws and maws. They range from toothy theropods like Carcharodontosaurus saharicus—posed with jaws open, closed, and drenched in gore—and towering sauropod Argentinosaurus huinculensis to Enaliornis barretti, an early bird. All are carefully identified and caught in natural poses with faint shadows but almost no other background detail. Nearly all gaze directly up at viewers with predatory or (if vegetarian) cautionary mien. Their physical details and brightly patterned, scaly hides are worked with fine-lined realism, and colors, particularly in feathers, glow iridescently. Each entry includes a tally of basic information, a select set of descriptive labels, and a scale drawing of the creature next to a (usually much smaller) human figure. Perhaps in an effort to add verisimilitude, though, the authors salt the captions and commentary with unsupported notes on “Temperament” and behavior (“Microraptor emits a high-pitched squawk”), nor do they cite any sources or leads to further information.

Eye candy for both serious and casual dinophiles, with an admixture of facts and fancies. (pronunciation guide) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63322-033-1

Page Count: 115

Publisher: Quarto

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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