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WHEN DINOS DAWNED, MAMMALS GOT MUNCHED, AND PTEROSAURS TOOK FLIGHT by Hannah Bonner Kirkus Star

WHEN DINOS DAWNED, MAMMALS GOT MUNCHED, AND PTEROSAURS TOOK FLIGHT

A Cartoon Prehistory of Life in the Triassic

From the When… series, volume 3

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

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0862-8
Publisher: National Geographic

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)