NONFICTION

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs: Discover More Than 80 Prehistoric Creatures

224p. glossary. illus. DK. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781465468482.
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Gr 3–5—This clearly written, attractive combination of topical features and species profiles provides an excellent overview of dinosaurs for elementary school students. The book introduces different aspects of prehistoric life, introducing geologic eras, dinosaur types and behaviors, and other animals of the Mesozoic. Colorful spreads feature varied layouts with drawings, photos, word balloons with extra facts, and simple cartoons. Labeled spot images of dinosaurs provide useful examples: Compsognathus, for example, is used to represent the Jurassic period, the variety of dinosaur sizes, and carnivores. About half of the book is devoted to more than 50 two-page species profiles, variously grouped by environment, behaviors, and physical features. Each spread covers the basics, including size, habitat, era, and key characteristics. Words and layouts vary neatly in order to highlight particular features. Comparisons with other dinosaurs and modern animals help make the information accessible. The material is up-to-date: many illustrations include feathers, and a feature about new discoveries is current through early 2018. Closing pages look at how scientists find out about prehistoric life, followed by a handy "dino file" with spot images and pronunciations of about 130 species.
VERDICT A superb choice to fill the gap between simpler dinosaur introductions, such as My Little Book of Dinosaurs, and more detailed encyclopedias including Dinosaurs: A Visual Encylopedia.

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