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)