In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years

illus. by Matthew Trueman. 48p. Candlewick. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763660734.
RedReviewStarGr 1–3—Softly detailed watercolors accompany poems about early life-forms in this moving examination of prehistoric Earth. At the bottom of each page is a small box noting the era of the topic creature and showing the range in millions of years. Each short poem communicates the name of the animal and some details about them with a sense of wonder and humor, often playing on readers' expectations. ("Dilophosaurus" is only three words: "Blessed/with/crests!") Most illustrations are a full spread in size. Trueman's mixed-media artwork is filled with texture and small details; muddy river banks, the fleshy ridges of the megalodon's mouth, the remains of trilobites, etc. The majesty of the larger creatures is also well communicated. An author's note discusses ongoing discoveries of fossils, and explains how the prehistoric eras built on each other like stairs. In addition, a "Notes on the Animals" segment lists each covered time period, the poems that fall within that era, and additional information on creatures.
VERDICT Prehistoric beasts are an evergreen favorite among kids, and this wonderful combination of art, poetry, and science is a great addition to libraries.

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