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Paleontology

Alonso, Juan Carlos and Paul, Gregory S.  The Late Jurassic: Notes, Drawings, and Observations from Prehistory
Gr. 4–6     113 pp.     Walter Foster

Illustrated by Juan Carlos Alonso. Ancient Earth Journal series. Dinosaur species that lived 162–145 million years ago are documented in gorgeous, detailed illustrations set on pages like a naturalist’s journal. After introductions to each of the major groups or orders of the period (therapods, sauropods, ornithischians, and pterosaurs, plus a small chapter on mammals), features of each animal are highlighted through abundantly captioned action sketches and anatomical close-ups. Pronunciation key appended.
Subjects: Prehistoric Life; Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs

Arnold, Caroline  Living Fossils: Clues to the Past
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Charlesbridge

Illustrated by Andrew Plant. Perfect for mid-elementary paleontology enthusiasts, this book opens a window to the prehistoric past. Examining six “living fossils” (“an informal term for a modern-day plant or animal that resembles its ancient relatives”), Arnold clearly describes each ancestor and how its relative survives today; lifelike acrylic paintings differentiate the “then” and “now” of back-to-back spreads. Reading list, timeline, websites. Glos.
Subjects: Natural History; Evolution; Animals; Prehistoric life; Fossils; Paleontology

Bonner, Hannah  Dining with Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching
Gr. 4–6     40 pp.     National Geographic

Bonner’s humorous and informative take on natural history groups dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures by what they ate — readers “meet carnivores, herbivores, and all the other ‘vores’ of the Mesozoic food web.” The detailed account also includes plants (“sunivores”), fungi, and bacteria (“trashivores”). Amusing side cartoons of anthropomorphized dinos are slyly informative, and the comic-strip “Ask a Scientist” interviews are inspired. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Prehistoric Life; Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs; Food chains

Nardo, Don  Deadliest Dinosaurs
Middle school, high school
    80 pp.     ReferencePoint

Deadliest Predators series. After a general introduction titled “Terrors of the Land, Seas, and Air,” six chapters cover individual types of dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurus rex, Spinosaurus, etc.). Topics include appearance, habitat, and hunting and capturing prey; the text’s tone is sometimes gruesome. “At-a-Glance” sidebars are useful for comparison. The dense text is off-putting, but the many renderings and fossil photos should fascinate dinosaur fans. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs

Reed, MK  Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
Gr. 4–6     120 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second

Illustrated by Joe Flood. Science Comics series. This topic gets the graphic-novel treatment. Flood’s detailed panel illustrations cover a lot of ground, including nineteenth-century dinosaur hunters; nomenclature practice; and various geological, evolutionary, and paleontological discoveries. There’s some humor along with a solid presentation of facts, and the clean design helps makes the information accessible; the somewhat advanced content makes the book most appropriate for upper-elementary-age readers. Reading list. Glos.
Subjects: Prehistoric Life; Graphic novels; Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs; Cartoons and comics; Paleontology

From the September 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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