American Mastodon

9781543505436. ea vol: 32p. (Little Paleontologist). chron. further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Jan. 2018. lib. ed. $27.99.
Gr 3–5—Profiles of prehistoric beasts provide fascinating information about these species and how we learned about them. Lucid text covers physical traits and behavior while smoothly integrating scientific history. For instance, a description of the size and purposes of mastodon tusks also reveals that scientists use them to measure the animal's age and that mastodons likely favored one tusk over the other. There's a good balance between general data and fun facts. However, causes of extinction are mentioned in only two of the four titles. The images are not especially dynamic or varied. Interactions with prey or predators are limited, and a spread about mastodon footprints offers no illustrated examples. More useful features include a time line, a scale drawing, and photos of skeletons on display.
VERDICT Engaging writing makes this set worth considering, despite average visuals.

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