DACTYLS! by Robert T. Bakker


Dragons of the Air
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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One of paleontology’s hottest excavators turns his hand to writing a children’s book, with entirely winning results. This upper-level entry in the venerable Step into Reading series features relatively simple language, but boy, is it ever exciting. Bakker addresses readers guilelessly; his enthusiasm for the dactyl fossils he digs for is contagious. Dactyls, he explains, are the winged creatures more properly known as pterosaurs, and in his hands they come alive on the page, Rey’s illustrations clearly supporting the text. Speculation is never far from science, the evidence for the conclusions reached by the author always at the fore as he hypothesizes about everything from diet to color to movement. That these conclusions are rendered clearly and concisely enough for a transitional audience is no mean feat, and it is a testament to the author’s respect for children that he even tries. If the text has a few too many exclamation points, no matter—they are not patronizing here, just evidence of shared excitement. It’s a pity that the standard Step into Reading treatment has such low production values, as this offering definitely deserves better. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 2005
ISBN: 0-375-83013-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2005