CM . . . .
Volume V Number 19 . . . . May 21, 1999
To some people the crest looks like a snow shovel, but to others it looks like an Elvis Presley style "jelly roll" hairdo, which is why some jokingly refer to this dinosaur as Elvisaurus. Since the discovery was made in the Antarctic, this discovery made this dinosaur a "cool dude", just like Elvis.Fifteen "new" dinosaurs - recent discoveries - are introduced by renowned paleontologist, Phillip Currie, of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta. Fossil remains of these fascinating creatures have been found on all continents of the globe and range in size from the comparatively diminutive Sinosauropteryx of China (1.5 meters), the first feathered dinosaur, to the colossal Seismosaurus of New Mexico (45 meters), aptly nicknamed the "earthquake dinosaur". A double-page spread is devoted to each dinosaur. The lefthand page is divided into two parts: the first consists of several paragraphs of text describing the dinosaur's specialized body parts, its eating habits, movement and habitat, with some information about its discovery also included (for example, fossils of Irritator, a land animal, were discovered in marine sediments in South America, but scientists concluded that these animals were light enough to be carried by river currents out to sea); the second part is a quick reference box entitled "Dino Data", which lists the dinosaur's name translation, the period during which it lived, where its fossils were discovered, its food, length and weight. On the righthand page is a large, colourful illustration of the creature. A brief index and an even briefer glossary are provided at the back of the book.
The text is kid-friendly, posing questions and providing interesting facts and theories to sustain readers' interests. Because younger children, in particular, might have a difficult time picturing the size of some of the featured dinosaurs, the authors frequently use comparisons to everyday objects - like a schoolbus, for example - to show the dinosaur's relative size. In some cases, the authors take readers through their thinking processes as they attempt to put the pieces of he dinosaur puzzle together. (Just an aside - there are a couple of typographical errors in the text.)
Sovak's illustrations depict the dinosaurs in their natural habitats. Some of the paintings show the creature up close and with a great deal of fine detail, while others concentrate more on the habitats and less on the dinosaurs. Many of the paintings are monochromatic; all of them feature Sovak's trademark play with light and shadow.
Any child who has ever been fascinated by these gigantic prehistoric lizards will love this book.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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