NONFICTION

Dinosaur Empire!

Dinosaur Empire! illus. by Abby Howard. 128p. (Earth Before Us: Bk. 1). glossary. Abrams/Amulet. Aug. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781419723063.
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Gr 4–6—An in-depth look at dinosaurs, geography, and evolution, presented through an appealing framing device. After Ronnie fails her dinosaur quiz, she travels back in time with her neighbor Miss Lernin, a paleontologist, for a firsthand lesson. The two visit four different time periods: the late Triassic, the late Jurassic, the "early-ish, almost middle Cretaceous," and the late Cretaceous. Miss Lernin educates Ronnie on the geography, climate, vegetation, and animal life of each era. Howard details characteristics of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, covers similarities and differences among different species, and offers information on evolution, convergent evolution, and mutations. Names of species are in bold print and accompanied by a phonetic pronunciation. The simple, cartoon-style color illustrations are detailed enough to indicate differences among species. The conversation between Miss Lernin and Ronnie is fairly easy to follow, but the inclusion of a calendar between different eras to indicate the passing of time may be confusing, as each "day" represents millions of years. The last few pages include "Cool Animals from Other Times" and a drawing of a scientific family tree.
VERDICT A great addition to graphic novel or dinosaur collections.

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