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3 New Books for Kids
Three new dinosaur books for kids appeared recently and will be of
interest to educators, parents and kids who are looking for the better
books on dinosaurs for this age level.
Lauber, Patricia, and Henderson, Douglas (illustrator). _How Dinosaurs
Came to Be_. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1996.
At long last, a high quality children's book that focuses on the
origin of dinosaurs. It traces the evolution of reptiles and gives
attention to the rise of the pelycosaurs, the therapsids, the
thecodonts... And all with Doug Henderson's excellent paintings. The
dinosaurs of the Triassic are sorely neglected (how many Triassic
dinosaurs are represented in the Carnegie or Battat collections?),
especially for the general public. This book fills a much needed void.
More info than the casual reader will want, but the perfect book perhaps
for inspiring more serious dinosaur study. (A powerful technique in
learning about any subject is getting your feet wet with books written
for younger audiences. The average teacher who presents a unit on
dinosaurs would find this book very educational. I did. I think all of
Patricia Lauber's books should be required reading for any educator who
wants to present accurate information to kids about dinosaurs.)
Lessem, Don, and Peters, David (illustrator). _Raptors! The Nastiest
Dinosaurs_. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1996.
Tracy Ford mentioned this book a while back. The illustrations are
great. The endpapers alone will help to put Velociraptor into
perspective, showing four representatives of the Dromaeosauridae drawn
(painted) to scale. I wish David Peters had included a human figure for
comparison. As Dr. Holtz pointed out in a recent posting, "'raptor'"
(without the apostrophe) is growing to become the common name for
Dromaeosauridae." I understand Tracy's dislike for the use of "raptor,"
but it is probably no more disconcerting for most of us than "hippo" or
"rhino." And since the evolution of language is as dynamic as the
evolution of species, it is probably something that we couldn't stop if
we wanted to. (Personally, I am still a little uncomfortable with the use
of "T. rex.")
Dingus, Lowell, and Norell, Mark. A. _Searching for Velociraptor_. New
York: Harper Collins, 1996.
Whereas the Lessem/Peters book deals with the Dromaeosauridae in
general, this book deals specifically with Velociraptor, detailing the
expedition to the Gobi desert retracing the footsteps of Roy Chapman
Andrews. Excellent color photographs document the entire process of
finding, excavating, preparing, and displaying a fossil find.
Unfortunately, for the section on mounting the fossil remains, it was
necessary to substitute photos of a Tyrannosaurus skeleton being mounted.
Worth adding to a library because of the attention to detail on what
paleontologists and fossil preparators do.
----- Amado Narvaez