In his addition to the plethora of dino-titles, Pringle (Octopus Hug) presents a picture book introduction to this ever-intriguing subject. He examines the giant creatures' habits and natures, the ways in which paleontologists have gathered the information currently available-including some surprising new discoveries. Clearly written and well-suited to a younger audience, the book is meaty enough for slightly older readers too. Heyer's (Excalibur; Prancer) detailed acrylics, alternately realistic and stylized, offer an up-to-date representation of what the "terrible lizards" may well have looked like. Not as striking or informative as other similar works, e.g., An Alphabet of Dinosaurs, reviewed below. Ages 4-up. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Dramatic illustrations and a simple, direct narrative introduce a few of the dinosaurs that once roamed the earth. Meat-eating and plant-eating species are represented, both large and small, with a brief description of their physical characteristics. The meaning of scientific names and phonetic pronunciations within the text are helpful, and the work and findings of paleontologists are explained. Some recent theories regarding parenting behavior, hunting, and defense techniques are included. Heyer's illustrations create a feeling of another age. Dinosaurs are shown against somber natural backgrounds, similar to those found in Patricia Lauber's The News About Dinosaurs (Bradbury, 1989). These dark scenes allow a variety of colors and patterns of the dinosaurs' skin to stand out, reflecting the viewpoint that their coloration may have been similar to that of present-day reptiles. Closeups of a few creatures are provided, with an especially fierce Tyrannosaurus. The captions are inconsistent; some dinosaurs are clearly labeled while others are mentioned only in the text. There is no index, but the open format and large-print text is for pleasure reading rather than for reports. Seymour Simon's New Questions & Answers About Dinosaurs (Morrow, 1990), Lauber's book, and many other sources have more comprehensive information for those wanting to delve further into this ever-popular subject.-Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
The striking jacket illustration of "Tyrannosaurus" will draw children to this dinosaur book. In a brief but balanced presentation, Pringle introduces 11 dinosaurs and points out a few basic facts. For instance, contrary to our stereotypes of the creatures, most dinosaurs were plant eaters. Also, although most artists picture stegosaurs with plates sticking out from their backs like fins, no one "knows" where or how the stegosaur's bony plates fit onto its body. The illustrations, captioned only to identify types of dinosaurs, occasionally seem somewhat detached from the text. In one painting, a paleontologist slathers white stuff on a large fossil, presumably to protect it or to make a cast, but neither text nor caption mentions what's happening in the picture. Still, the colorful acrylic paintings offer eye-catching views of dinosaur days and intriguing illustrations of paleontologists at work. For larger dino collections.
Laurence Pringle has written 108 books for young readers, many of them award-winning science titles. He is the recipient of three major awards for his body of work-the Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Science Literature, the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in West Nyack, New York-a few miles from Rockland Lake, once "the ice box of New York City."