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new children's book
I'm pleased to announce publication of a new kid's book of my own, _Bringing
Dinosaur Bones to Life: How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Were Like?_ (Franklin
Watts, 2001, ISBN 0-531-11403-1)
The book is written at the upper elementary-junior high level. It is concerned
less with summarizing what we think we know about dinosaur biology, and more
with how we go about trying to reconstruct the beasts: What kinds of evidence
we use, and how we use it. Controversies are not glossed over, but spelled out
as explicitly as possible in a text of only 6000 words. Topics covered include
what the beasts looked like, what they ate, how they fought, how they
reproduced and grew, and (a personal favorite) possible functions of stegosaur
plates. I have tried to be as fair to opposing points of view as I could.
The book had an elephantine gestation period; the editors had the ms for a
couple years before they began work on it. During that time I was able to
revise the ms as new discoveries and developments, but eventually the book went
to print, and I was stuck with that version. Consequently the book is already
a bit out of date, even before it is officially published! I was therefore
unable to talk about Norell's dromaeosaur with feathers or feather-like
integument, and of course couldn't say anything about dinosaur noses. But I
hope that the book will be useful nonetheless (and sell oodles of copies
[please! my second child goes to university next year!]).
If nothing else, paleofans may be interested in some of the art I was able to
track down. I have nice photos of one of Jack Horner's specimens, a hadrosaur
bone with a theropod tooth embedded therein. I'm most proud, however, of a
couple lovely color photos I was able to get of horn-wrestling chameleons,
which the book shows alongside a restoration of two horn-wrestling
_Triceratops_. The book's new dinosaur art was done by Jim Whitcraft.
There are, unfortunately, some glitches in the art credits, which of course I
missed when I went through the galleys. (I was too focused on making sure that
images weren't printed upside down [had a doozy of a time getting an
_Allosaurus_ arm printed correctly], or at the wrong size.) So several photos
are incorrectly credited to me, and not the persons who actually sent them to
me. I apologize profusely for this, if anybody who sent me photos follows this
list, and I will send personal apologies individually. I notified the
publisher about the errors, and they say they can be fixed if the book sells
well enough for a second printing.
All told, I'm reasonably pleased with the way it turned out.
In other book news, I will soon report publication of some new IU Press books
that should have folks' mouths watering. Start saving your allowances....