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Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, Lucia Washburn (Illustrator)

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Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

Birds have feathers, but did you know some dinosaurs did too? New fossils have shown that as long as 145 million years ago, some dinosaurs had feathers, just as birds do. The birds you see outside your window are relatives of these ancient creatures.

Ages 5-9


Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

Birds have feathers, but did you know some dinosaurs did too? New fossils have shown that as long as 145 million years ago, some dinosaurs had feathers, just as birds do. The birds you see outside your window are relatives of these ancient creatures.

Ages 5-9

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Using the related questions, "So where did birds come from? And how did this amazing feathers develop?", Zoehfeld follows the discovery of a two-and-a-half inch feather/fossil print in 1860 to the evolution of Archaeopteryx, the first skeleton found that did, indeed, boast wings. Throughout the text, Zoehfield questions whether Archaeopteryx is actually the forerunner of modern birds through a series of questions and answers that allow the young reader to understand how certain dinosaurs probably evolved into birds. Noting that one group of dinosaurs, the theropods, have distinct similarities to birds, the author then goes into a great amount of detail about the evolution of feathers from protofeathers that were probably used more to gain attention to feathers that developed to keep the dinosaurs warm. The last two pages of the text highlight more ways to find out about feathers in the contemporary sense. This is a solid read for primary grade readers who are ready to move from simply exposition to a more subtle, problem-solving approach. 2004, HarperTrophy, and Ages 5 to 9.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Like Zoehfeld's other books on dinosaurs, this is a visually appealing, informative, and interesting read. The author leads youngsters from the first discovery of a fossil print of a feather in 1860 in Germany to more recent findings in China of dinosaur fossils showing plumage, and differentiates between the various types of feathers and their purposes. She also discusses the link between theropods and modern-day birds. Pastel illustrations in pale tones provide vivid visualizations of long-ago landscapes and the creatures being discussed. An inset map shows where in China the fossils were located. The book concludes with a section on finding out more about feathers and a note on washing and microwaving specimens collected outdoors to rid them of germs and "tiny insect critters." Libraries that serve dinosaur fanatics will find this a welcome addition.-Jean Lowery, Bishop Woods Elementary School, New Haven, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Zoehfeld takes a crack at the titular question for budding scientists. She traces the debate from 1860 to the present, describing a variety of evolving birdlike creatures, from Archaeopteryx, "ancient wing," discovered in 1860 to recent discoveries from the 1990s, like Sinosauropteryx. She describes theropod dinosaurs with hollow bones and wishbones, three-toed feet with claws, and feathers, features of modern birds. She notes that creatures were unlike modern birds in that some had only a ridge of feathers, a fuzzy down rather than flight feathers, long bony tails, or wings with claws and teeth. Soft pastel drawings show fuzzy and feathered proto-bird as they might have existed 125-145 million years ago. She provides a dinosaur timeline, and concludes, "The descendants of the feathered dinosaurs still soar through our skies every day." Young dinosaur enthusiasts will love this fascinating information. (activity pages) (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Series: Level 2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is the award-winning author of more than seventy books for children.  She has written several books in the Let’s Read And Find Out Science series, including:  WHAT LIVES IN A SHELL?, an NSTA/CBC “Outstanding Science Trade Book” and winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s “Best Children’s Book” award; WHAT IS THE WORLD MADE OF?, a Children’s Book of the Month Club Main Selection; WHAT’S ALIVE?, also named an AAAS “Best Children’s Book”;  HOW MOUNTAINS ARE MADE, an NSTA/CBC “Outstanding Science Trade Book,” DINOSAUR TRACKS, "a great choice for even the most discriminating dinophiles" (School Library Journal); and DINOSAURS BIG AND SMALL, winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio “Best Book Award”

Kathleen was a children’s book editor for over ten years before becoming a full-time writer.  When she is not reading, researching, writing, or editing she loves to spend her free time exploring, doing fieldwork, and preparing and curating fossils for her local natural history museums.  She lives in Berkeley, CA.

Lucia Washburn has illustrated more than a dozen books for children. Her Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science books include Dinosaur Tracks, Dinosaurs Big and Small, and Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?, which has illustrations that "provide vivid visualizations of long-ago landscapes" (School Library Journal). Her other books include Look to the North by Jean Craighead George, a 1997 Parents' Choice Gold Award winner praised as "a fine addition to science collections" (ALA Booklist). When she travels, she and her family enjoy visiting the local museums to see their dinosaur collections. Being the mother of two children, she has a special fondness for Maiasaura. She lives in California with her family.

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