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Review of In the Past

In the Past
by David Elliott; 
illus. by Matthew Trueman
Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g
3/18    978-0-7636-6073-4    $17.99

This collection of imaginative, clever poems about ancient animals, all but one extinct, moves chronologically from trilobites in the Cambrian era to woolly mammoths from our current geologic time period (Quaternary), with good representation across dinosaur, sea, and flying species. The poems about each are knowing, humorous, and filled with scientific details. “The bad news: Like a centipede. Eight feet long. Or more. / The good news: Arthropleura was an herbivore.” Readers can fill in the blanks by consulting the end notes, which provide additional facts and personal reflections in a wry, conversational tone. Trueman’s dynamic, creatively composed mixed-media illustrations plunge readers into past environments using awesome, sometimes scary perspectives: up close to the bloodied jaws of a carnivorous Dimetrodon, underneath the massive tail of a Brachytrachelopan or a striking Titanoboa, and within the giant ferns of the Triassic Period.

From the March/April 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford About Danielle J. Ford

Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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