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Recommended Elementary School Titles
Here is a list of 10 books which, if they had been in my school library
when I was in 6th grade, would have made me think I'd died and gone to
heaven. In no particular order, and by no means exhaustive or definitive:
1. Dinosaurs. John Bonnett Wexo. Creative Publications:Mankato,
MN, 1989. This book is part of the Zoobooks series. It is probably not
carried in most bookstores but can be purchased by schools (and I suppose
private individuals) from the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational
Corporation, 310 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604. Phone
1-800-554-9862. Very nice illustrations by a variety of artists,
including John Sibbick. Mark Hallett is the Senior Art Consultant. Has
vivid illustrations to explain things like how some sauropod teeth could
be used like rakes to pull leaves off branches; how the ligaments in the
necks operated like a crane to pull the neck up; and how neither a meteor
impact nor volcanic activity nor climate change ALONE might have killed
off the dinosaurs, but how TOGETHER they could have. All with pictures
and minimal text.
2. Let's all draw dinosaurs, pterodactyls and other prehistoric
creatures. Bruce Robertson. Text by Sue Pincus. Watson-Guptill:New York,
1991. The best of the books on drawing dinosaurs, bar none. This was
produced by the Diagram Group, who also did _The Dinosaur Data Book_.
3. Dougal Dixons' Dinosaurs. Dougal Dixon. Morena
Press:Honesdale, PA 1993. Received the Dinosaur Society's Sattler Award
as the best dinosaur book for children.
4. The news about dinosaurs. Patricia Lauber. Bradbury Press:New
York, 1989. Although aimed at lower elementary school grades (it's more a
picture book than a "non-fiction" book), it has between its covers some
of the best illustrations by many of the outstanding dinosaur
illustrators of the present.
5. Digging up Tyrannosaurus rex. John R. Horner and Don Lessem.
Crown:New York, 1992. Great photographs that show the excavation process.
6. The search for Seismosaurus. J. Lynett Gillette. Paintings by
Mark Hallett. Dial Books for Young Readers:New York, 1994. More great
photographs that show the excavation process, this time of a sauropod.
7. The ultimate dinosaur book. David Lambert. Dorling
Kindersley:New York, 1993. Although technically worthy of a place on a
high school library shelf, I think 6th graders would benefit from this
book because of the number of skeleton recontructions provided and the
attention to detail.
8. The illustrated dinosaur encyclopedia. David Norman. Crescent
Books:New York, 1985. This can sometimes be found on remainder shelves in
book stores. As Horner and Lessem note in their bibliography, this is
"challenging reading for children," but like book 7 above, it has
skeleton reconstructions by the score and John Sibbick's beautiful paintings.
9. The new illustrated dinosaur dictionary. Helen Roney Sattler.
Lothrop, Lee & Shepherd:New York,1983,1990. Make sure you get the new one,
not the "old" one. The new one (the better one) has illustrations by
Joyce Powzyk. Nice because the entries go beyond the names of dinosaurs
to include definitions like "GASTROLITHS" with cross references to
"FOOD," "SAUROPOD," etc.
10. The Dinosaur Society's Dinosaur Encyclopedia. Don Lessem and
Donald F. Glut. Random House:New York,1993. A must for the reference
shelf. Black and white illustrations by some of the top illustrators in
the field. Pretty exhaustive as far as types of dinosaurs up to 1993.
Would be nice if they published a paperback addendum every year or two.
All of these books are currently in print or available on
remainder shelves. Some are available in paperback.
I hope this list is some help. There are many more that could be
mentioned, but any of these will whet anyone's appetite for more.
----- Amado Narvaez