________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 21 . . . . June 20, 2003


The Dinosaur Atlas.

Don Lessem. Illustrated by John Bindon.
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 2003.
64 pp., cloth, $26.95.
ISBN 1-55263-540-6.

Subject Heading:
Dinosaurs-Geographical distribution.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


Although dinosaurs were a big success- managing to rule the earth for 150 million years- they are only a short chapter in the history of life. If the Earth began at the bottom of your shoes, dinosaurs would appear somewhere up your nose and disappear at your forehead. If you think that’s bad, try this: All of human life is just the split end of a hair on top of your head!

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Dinosaur expert, Don Lessem, author of more than 20 books on dinosaurs and advisor to the creators of Jurassic Park, gives readers a fascinating and informative look at the world of dinosaurs from a geographical perspective in this fact-filled book. He begins by explaining what the earth was like just before dinosaurs appeared, then takes readers on a trip through time - 150 million years - to see how dinosaurs evolved as the earth’s landmass, climate and flora changed. The information is presented on double-page spreads, each one devoted to a specific dinosaur (or group of dinosaurs) in a certain part of the world. In all, more than 50 dinosaurs are featured. Maps, indicating the area where the dinosaurs were found, form the backgrounds of each of the illustrations. There is a time line at the top of the page with the specific time period highlighted in a darker colour. Each spread has general information on the conditions of the earth at that time as well as a fact box with the name of the dinosaur, the pronunciation, name meaning, group, size, place found, diet and a descriptive paragraph. Tiny silhouettes of a boy and a girl and the featured dinosaur(s) are shown to demonstrate comparative size. Humourous and interesting sidebars, most accompanied by the author’s photo, provide additional information. Readers will gain an insight into the dinosaurs’ environments and how the dinosaurs (and the earth itself) evolved. For example, similar dinosaur bones have been found in North America and Africa, findings which indicate that these landmasses were once closer together and similar in climate. Discoveries of dinosaur graveyards and how paleontologists piece together the dinosaur puzzle and how dinosaurs are named are also covered in detail.

     Lessem captivates readers with his unique approach to this fascinating topic. He uses kid-friendly language and successfully blends factual information with humour to sustain the reader’s interest. Plentiful colour illustrations, maps and photographs enhance the text.

     A table of contents, a glossary and an index are included. An added bonus is the fairly lengthy list of resources for further study. The author not only provides a list of books and videos but also a list of “cool” web sites and dig sites, complete with descriptions, and a list of museums with their addresses, telephone numbers and web sites. Very thorough!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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