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SABERTOOTH by Patrick O’Brien


by Patrick O’Brien & illustrated by Patrick O’Brien

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7105-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

Sabertooth is actually the name for a group of large prehistoric cats, distant cousins of today’s tigers. This dramatic introduction describes the group, especially the well-known Smilodon. O’Brien describes skeletons found fossilized in the La Brea Tar Pits and suggests theories about how and what the cats hunted. An actual size Smilodon fang contrasts with the much smaller canine tooth of today’s tiger, and a double-page spread of possible fur colors and patterns emphasizes that fossils don’t provide this information. The detailed paintings portray other prehistoric predators and their prey, including Homo erectus in ancient Africa and early Native Americans, perhaps implying that they coexisted in time. The theory offered for Smilodon extinction—“the world was getting warmer”—is an over-simplification of the end of an Ice Age, and of various theories that include the co-extinction of the mammoths and the presence of human hunters. With a cover image of a snarling tiger, attractive design and relatively small amount of text, this may be irresistible, but buy with care. (Informational picture book. 5-8)