EVERYTHING YOUR KIDS EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DINOSAURS AND YOU WERE AFRAID THEY'D ASK
Volume 19 Number 2
Here's a non-fiction book that is intended for parents but will probably be pored over by any kid old enough to read it and even by some who'll merely be attracted by the colourful cartoon cover, in which case they'll hound their parents to read it to them, for, after all, everyone loves dinosaurs, right?
Degler, a Toronto author with a background in Special Education, has researched her topic thoroughly using the most recent studies. She presents a wealth of dinosaur lore in five chapters covering evolution, description, habitat, food, and reproduction, plus a final chapter on such whimsical notions as having a dinosaur for a pet and starting an Adopt-a-Dinosaur program.
But the real appeal of this book is in its writing style and the manner of presenting the information. The style is conversational and wryly humorous. The vocabulary is often scientific and the overall reading level is definitely adult. On the other hand, the chapter headings and sub-headings are all introduced as questions that a child might ask, for example, "Did dinosaurs wag their tails?" "Did dinosaurs go on dates?" "Do dinosaurs eat kids?' "Do dinosaurs feel gross?" and so on. These are the parts of the text that will catch the eye of young readers. Their frustration with the difficulties of the ensuing data will hopefully prod them into finding someone who'll help them out.
The wide page margins are full of dinosaur trivia and amusing personal anecdotes. There are numerous black-and-white cartoon illustrations, a field guide to dozens of dinosaurs, a classification system outline, a bibliography, and a Guineas Book of Records style list of dinosaur superlatives.
The only flaw I found in the book was the occasional repetition of detail, and it is possible that the deliberately unconventional organization of data will inhibit those readers who prefer their information "straight." Grade 5 to 8 teachers will find this an invaluable resource. Parents of precocious dinophiles will love it. And children's librarians will make marvelous use of it on the "parents' shelf." All in all, a refreshing approach to a subject of endless fascination.
Maryleah Otto, St. Thomas Public Library, St. Thomas, Ont.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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