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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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Fans of Terry Deary and Martin Brown’s Horrible Histories and their ilk are unlikely to consider this latest imitation more than an also-ran. Oliver surveys British history from the Isles’ Ice Age formation to the not-exactly-hot-off-the-presses 2005 news that London will host the 2012 Olympics. Though accurate enough in his broad picture, the author’s debatable facts (“…the Romans introduced really useful things such as toilets and even vegetables to the people of Britain”) and awkwardly written generalizations (“The Celtic kings consulted religious advisors to help them rule, known as druids”) drag the bland text down even further. Pinder's pen-and-ink illustrations attempt snark but too often fall flat: “That girl was always getting in my way,” remarks Bloody Mary as Lady Jane Grey’s newly severed head bounces by. This catalog of major British kings, queens, wars, pivotal events and cultural milestones is unlikely to entertain—much less resonate with—American audiences. (index, royal timeline) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-906082-72-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Buster/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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Thirteen prominent American men and women are briefly profiled in this collection. Chronologically ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, each entry features an inspiring quote from its subject and a concise explanation of his or her context in history. Opposite each page of text is a watercolor painting by the author depicting an image or montage of the notable individual and illustrating the work they achieved or how they lived. Each one evokes the emotions the book is meant to inspire: courage, strength and determination. Franklin Roosevelt gazes reassuringly out at readers above a line of hungry people at a soup kitchen; Rachel Carson smiles at readers against a picture of a soaring bald eagle and an inset of her peering into a microscope. The selection includes four women and five male ethnic minorities. Almost all are familiar faces in collective biographies, including Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but some names may be new to young readers, such as Emma Lazarus and Cesar Chavez. Included in the backmatter are thumbnail biographies of each figure and a list of source notes. The profiles are indeed inspiring, and younger readers will likely learn something new. For deeper research, students will have to look elsewhere but could use this book as an excellent starting point. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8225-6810-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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