A gallery of prehistoric marine reptiles, their prey, and their predators.
Aiming for newly independent readers, Thomson describes in short sentences and simple language how plesiosaurs—an order that included both long- and short-necked varieties—hunted, got about with their flippers (“Maybe it paddled like a duck. Maybe it glided like a sea turtle”), gave birth to live young, and succumbed at last to an extinction event 65 million years ago. She provides broader context with comments about general features common to land and marine reptiles alike and closes with summary facts about other marine reptiles of both the past and present. Details both tantalize (the “smooth stones” in a plesiosaur’s stomach “may have helped to crush food”) and enlighten through concrete example: “Some plesiosaurs were only a bit longer than a broomstick. Some could’ve stretched halfway across a basketball court.” Throughout, Thomson carefully makes sure to emphasize that there is much we still do not know. Plant juices up the presentation with dramatic (labeled) portraits of thrillingly toothy predators leaving trails of blood in the water as they eat and are eaten.
Tempting fare for young dino-devotees. (print, video, and web resource lists) (Informational easy reader. 5-7)