Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dinosaur Books

Dinosaurs: the most complete, up-to-date encyclopedia for dinosaur lovers of all ages by Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., illustrated by Luis V. Rey, with contributions by thirty-three of the world's leading paleontologists, Random House, 2007

With a title like that it has to be good.
It is.

This book is for the dino-connoisseur, the tyranno-gourmand, the read-all-about-it-a-saurus. The book covers all things dinosaur from a review of geologic time and the history of fossil discoveries to dinosaur babies and dinosaur dung.
Forty-two chapters and 472 pages examine every branch of the dinosaur family tree.
In-depth chapters on coelurosaurs, prosauropods, tyrannosauroids, ceratopsids, (and the list goes on) are enhanced with colorful illustrations that "flesh-out" the detailed drawings of the skeletons which also accompany the chapter.

Personal essays from 33 paleontologist provide extensions to the chapters. Dr. Scott D. Sampson discusses "Male and Female Dinosaurs--Can we tell the difference?" and Dr. Matthew T. Carrano writes about "Walking and Running Dinosaurs." Dr. Luis Chiappe reviews the origins of birds during the Mesozoic Era. All of these essays are one page in length and very engaging and readable. They bring the scientist to the reader to explain their interests and passion for the subject.

This is NOT an Eyewitness book with different reading levels and distinct blocks of text but the illustrations are captioned and sections are headed in uppercase titles. The text is laid out in two columns with a nicely sized type and good white space.

Extensive dinosaur genus charts at the back refer the reader to the matching chapters. If you know a dinosaur fanatic, this is the book for them.

Robert Sabuda's and Matthew Reinhart pushed the pop-up book genre to a new level with their amazing Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs (2006.) Dinosaurs literally spring up from the pages in this book. Facts and information abound too.

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick, 2001

This is the true story of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. An Englishman, he was really one of the first paleoartists when he accepted a commission from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to design and build life-sized models of dinosaurs for the opening of the Crystal Palace. He was a fascinating man and Kerley's biographical sketch and Selznick's illustrations make this book a home run in every way.

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