Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct: Real Facts About Real Dinosaurs

HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062972347.
K-Gr 4–Sheneman infuses this work with characteristic cartoon style and jokes. The illustrations depict striped and spotted dinosaurs coexisting until an asteroid strikes Earth, causing mass extinctions. But, as scientists have discovered, not all dinosaurs died. According to the text, “But while the big dinosaurs were no longer the planet’s dominant form of life—mammals now hold that title—many dinosaurs survived.” Today, they are birds. Effective spreads show the evolution of theropods, such as Tyrannosaurus rex, to birds. A helpful time line provides “Highlights of Avian History,” from the Jurassic period to the Quaternary period. Sheneman points out similarities in behavior, including hunting and nesting, and illustrates where humans encounter dinosaurs today. The text uses understated humor; for example, the asteroid strike is described as “a very bad day for the dinosaurs.” But a major source of the fun comes from dialogue expressed by the animals, such as a bird warning a cat to stay away from the birdbath because its cousin was a velociraptor. Even children who are too young to appreciate the dry humor will remember the narrative’s central thesis.
VERDICT This light-hearted approach to dinosaur evolution will work well as a read-aloud introduction to the topic.

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