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Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!


The ancient Chinese thought they were magical dragons. Scientists thought they could only float on water since they were so big. Boy, were they wrong! Even today, notions about dinosaurs are being revised as new discoveries are made. This lively book offers fascinating insight into how certain theories were formulated, and then how those theories were proved or disproved.

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The ancient Chinese thought they were magical dragons. Scientists thought they could only float on water since they were so big. Boy, were they wrong! Even today, notions about dinosaurs are being revised as new discoveries are made. This lively book offers fascinating insight into how certain theories were formulated, and then how those theories were proved or disproved.

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Editorial Reviews

"Intelligently designed and imaginatively conceived, the artwork makes the text more understandable and the whole book more beautiful. "
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Kudlinski presents a number of early dino theories-a spike on the nose of the Iguanodon, drawings that depicted dinosaurs dragging their tails in the mud and running on spraddled, lizardlike legs-and shows, in her simple text, how further discoveries disproved these, and other, assumptions. She includes data on present-day concerns with such topics as scales and feathers, coloration, and infant care. She discusses the demise of the dinosaurs, the probable evolution of birds, and the fact that some books still on library shelves and even for sale in bookstores may be promulgating old, disproved theories. One small carp: lizards do not just "lay their eggs on the ground, then leave." They tend to dig holes or provide other shelter for their eggs first, and then, yes, they leave. Graced with colorful, realistic illustrations that reflect the text, this book is simple, attractive, and informative, and a take-off point for a discussion on the scientific method.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited text and humorously detailed line-and-color illustrations discuss the evolving nature of dinosaur research, emphasizing the ways recent discoveries have changed the ways paleontologists understand the always-fascinating creatures. Using the refrain, "Boy, were we wrong . . . !" Kudlinski introduces early thinking about the giant reptiles and then juxtaposes it with our current knowledge: For example, early drawings of dinosaurs show them dragging their tails, but the lack of tail drag marks in thousands of fossil footprints and close examination of tailbones have led scientists to conclude that dinosaurs held their tails out and used them for balance. Schindler's finely-inked illustrations use faux-antique effects to illustrate old thinking, while current theories feature colorful, full-bleed paintings, giving personality to their subjects without undue anthropomorphizing. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question received knowledge (and older library books), always acknowledging that the science keeps changing. An opening that encourages readers to laugh up their sleeves at the "ignorance" of ancient Chinese scholars on the subject of dinosaurs is an unfortunate detour into exoticism in a text that otherwise treats both readers and subject with respect and enthusiasm. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142411933
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/18/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 107,111
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen V. Kudlinski lives in Connecticut.

S. D. Schindler lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great encouragement for the curious mind

    I like this book because it shows how the theory of evolution applies to science itself. Strong hypotheses survive and multiply; weak ones die off. A scientist finds clues (in this case fossils), develops a hypothesis based on those clues, and as more information comes in scientists either confirm the earlier view or change it to account for the new information. Every generation of scientists tests the theories of the ones that came before as new information, new technology, and new methods for interpreting that information comes in. Nowhere is this more true than in paleontology, which -- as loyal readers will remember -- is my daughter's current favorite branch of the sciences.

    That early theory that sauropods must have lived underwater because they were too large and clumsy to live on land? A better understanding of anatomy (and water pressure on oxygen-breathing creatures) moved those dinosaurs on land. And Iguanodon's nose spike? When a complete fossil of Iguanodon was found, scientists realized that what they had thought was a solitary nose spike was in fact a bone from the creature's hand.

    This book does an excellent job of conveying to a young prospective scientist how exciting the scientific process can be, and the potential for her to take part in testing, adapting, and settling some of science's open questions. Were dinosaurs cold-blooded, warm-blooded, or something in between? Is the current asteroid extinction theory really the correct one? Which dinosaurs had bumps, which had scales, and which had feathers on their skin, and why? There are plenty of questions left to explore, which is a pretty exciting thought for both of us.

    In spite of this insight into meta-inquiry, here's the bottom line: we first found this book a few months ago in our local library. We love it so much that we have checked it out several times since (in fact, it's sitting on our couch right now).

    (Review originally published on my blog, Caterpickles - Scientific & Linguistic Engagement with a 4 Year Old Mind)

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