Series: When…


CHILDREN'S
Released: April 10, 2012

"Both casual and confirmed fans will devour this delicious blend of fact and foolery with relish. (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
More standup-style paleontology to follow When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm (2007). Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 9, 2007

The author of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth (2003) continues her droll but dependable tour of deep prehistory, focusing here on the flora, fauna and fungi of the Silurian and Devonian Periods, approximately 360 to 44 million years ago. This was the time when larger forms of life began to emerge on land, while, among the far richer variety of marine animals, fish wriggled to the top, thanks to newly developed jaws which allowed them "to say good-bye to a monotonous diet of teensy stuff. Now fish could grab, slice and dice to their heart's content." By the end, soil, forests and, of course, feet had also appeared. Fearlessly folding in tongue-challenging names and mixing simply drawn reconstructions and maps with goofy flights of fancy—on the first spread Robin Mite and Friar Millipede are caught on a stroll through Sherwood Moss Patch, and on the last, genial nautiloid Amphicyrtoceras plugs the previous volume—Bonner serves up a second heaping course of science that will both stick to the ribs and tickle them. (index, resource lists, time line) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2004

A breezy look at the flora and fauna of 250-320 million years ago. Some of it, notably the hardy cockroach, is still with us; more, including giant, treelike lycopods ("Their young looked like hairy telephone poles, the full-grown ones like something out of a Dr. Seuss book") or the many-legged, six-foot-long Arthropleura—shown here next to a startled modern sunbather for scale—vanished in a mysterious mass extinction. Bonner surrounds a lively, specific narrative punctuated, but not weighted down, by tongue-twisting scientific names with a gallery of simply drawn, precisely detailed land and sea life—along with the occasional single or strip cartoon featuring, for instance, a toothy prehistoric meteorologist tracking climatic changes, or a primeval newspaper bearing the headline: WATERPROOF EGG A REALITY!" She then sums up the entire history of life on this planet with an illustrated timeline (featuring a bowl of "Primordial Soup"), and closes with cogent suggestions for further paper and Web resources. Dinosaurs tend to get all the press; young readers who wonder where they came from will find some answers here, memorably delivered. (Nonfiction. 8-12)Read full book review >