Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?

Overview

No human being has ever seen a triceratops or velociraptor or even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. They left behind only their impressive bones. So how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feathered? Could that fierce T.rex have been born with spots?

In a first for young readers, the Sibert medalist Catherine Thimmesh introduces the incredible talents of the paleoartist, whose work reanimates gone-but-never-forgotten dinosaurs in giant ...

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Overview

No human being has ever seen a triceratops or velociraptor or even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. They left behind only their impressive bones. So how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feathered? Could that fierce T.rex have been born with spots?

In a first for young readers, the Sibert medalist Catherine Thimmesh introduces the incredible talents of the paleoartist, whose work reanimates gone-but-never-forgotten dinosaurs in giant full-color paintings that are as strikingly beautiful as they aim to be scientifically accurate, down to the smallest detail. Follow a paleoartist through the scientific process of ascertaining the appearance of various dinosaurs from millions of years ago to learn how science, art, and imagination combine to bring us face-to-face with the past.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Required reading for serious dinophiles."
Kirkus

"Readers will come away from this excellent book with a new appreciation for dinosaur imagery and for the talented paleoartists who produce it."
The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

"A stellar look at the methods paleoartists employ to bring dinosaurs to life on paper. . . . A terrific package that will draw in browsers and serve report writers while inspiring young artists to consider applying their skills to this enthralling field."
School Library Journal, starred review

"Thimmesh raises good questions, find some intriguing answers, and leaves others for readers to ponder."
Booklist

"This is the kind of information that can lure in readers beyond the usual dino hounds, so casual museumgoers with kids with an interest in forensic reconstructions whould find the topic of interest too."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Amy S. Hansen
We have all seen pictures of dinosaurs. They are big. They have big teeth. They are covered in scales. But wait. Dinosaurs died a long time ago. How do we know what they looked like? Award-winning author Thimmesh explores the specialized field of paleoartists—people who create images of long ago. She examines how they work directly with paleontologists, scientists who study fossils, and how they use every piece of the dinosaur to recreate the image of its life. For example, why are sauropods shown in groups? The answer is in the fossils. Scientists have to make some assumptions. So when many fossils of the same animal are found in a group, the assumption is that the animals lived in groups, or herds. Just as important as showing the detective skills of these scientists and artists, Thimmesh points out when they got things wrong. Sometimes the records have to be corrected because of new evidence. This book will certainly appeal to the dinosaur-loving crowd, but also the artists, and the science mystery lovers in general. Set up like a large picture book, the images are reprints of various artists’ dinosaur worlds, it should be on both the science and the art shelves of school libraries. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 8 to 14.
School Library Journal
★ 10/01/2013
Gr 5–7—This is a stellar look at the methods paleoartists employ to bring dinosaurs to life on paper. With a fascinating mix of text, expert quotes, and outstanding artwork, it showcases an aspect of paleontology that kids may not know much about. A lot of books focus on the action at paleontological digs and the reconstruction of what is found in them, but Thimmesh spotlights the gifted individuals who combine their talent with the latest scientific knowledge to layer muscles and flesh onto skeletal remains, adding another intriguing dimension to the study of these ancient creatures. These artistic sleuths pull together clues from plant and rock studies and other sources to create images as thrilling for the youngest dinosaur enthusiasts as they are informative for the most studied researchers. The highlighted paleoartists' renderings get full-bleed treatment, providing readers with a variety of spectacular interpretations of how dinosaurs appeared when they roamed the planet. Complementing the exceptional illustrations is an engaging, informative text written in a conversational tone. Artist profiles are included. The book is presented in a striking palette of saturated earth tones, completing a terrific package that will draw in browsers and serve report writers while inspiring young artists to consider applying their skills to this enthralling field.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Kirkus Reviews
Thimmesh (Lucy Long Ago, 2009) again explores the border between science and speculation in this thoughtful look at how paleontologists and, in particular, "paleoartists" reconstruct prehistoric creatures from fossil evidence. It's "guesswork," admits one artist. "But it's guesswork based on science." The author explains how surviving evidence--including fossilized bone fragments, plant matter, bits of skin and, recently, feathers, prehistoric "trackways" (preserved pathways of dino footprints) and similar physical features in modern animals--is assembled and interpreted by scientists. She also traces the evolution of dino art, from Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' fanciful reconstructions of heavy-bodied giant lizards to today's images of quick, deft, graceful creatures. In support, examples of Hawkins' approximations and the once-authoritative dinosaur paintings of Charles R. Knight from the first half of the 20th century contrast sharply with more detailed and dramatic scenes, often of the same dinosaurs, by Greg Paul and other currently active artists the author has interviewed. Sketch pages, alternative color patterns on the same model dino, and facing images of a Deinonychus before and after the discovery of fossilized feathers provide further insight into paleoart's methods, challenges and rewards. Required reading for serious dinophiles. (biographical appendix, source list, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547991344
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 208,438
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.
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