Dictionary of Dinosaurs: An Illustrated A to Z of Every Dinosaur Ever Discovered

illus. by Matthew G. Baron. 180p. illus. Wide Eyed Editions. Oct. 2018. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781786031280.
Gr 2–5—Opening with a lofty disclaimer ("you will find every dinosaur that has ever been discovered and verified by a dinosaur expert"), this A–Z dino dictionary offers a wide overview of the currently known genera. How the list was compiled is never explained, nor the criteria used to weed out problematic or disputed genera. Following a general introduction, the entries, from "Aardonyx" and "Abelisaurus" to "Zuniceratops," are spread out in an open, spacious layout. Many entries include a painted portrait by Baron, a smaller silhouette with a human figure for scale, the species name with pronunciation and translation, a descriptive paragraph, and four basic facts such as when the subject lived and in what country it was found. More than half of the entries, however, include neither illustration nor comment—just the header and those four sketchy facts. That doesn't leave readers much to go on—there aren't even links to related dinos or families to provide a clue to the subject's body type. Furthermore, rather than go for realistic detail, for the most part the illustrator fashions his portraits from sharp, often geometric elements and tidily variegated hues, floating stylized figures in white space or over bare hints of ground. The results are easy on the eyes but beyond basic shapes more evocative than informative.
VERDICT More suitable for browsing than reference—though a rich source of delight for young dinosaur fans who love to fit their mouths around those polysyllabic names.

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