When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs

When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs

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by Hannah Bonner
     
 

A centipede as long as a couch? Trees so tall they touch the clouds? Amphibians changing into reptiles? These are just a few of the amazing life forms detailed in When Bugs Were Big....This lively new paperback tickles the reader’s funny bone while imparting tons of information about the animals, plants, and bugs that lived before the dinosaurs. Children…  See more details below

Overview

A centipede as long as a couch? Trees so tall they touch the clouds? Amphibians changing into reptiles? These are just a few of the amazing life forms detailed in When Bugs Were Big....This lively new paperback tickles the reader’s funny bone while imparting tons of information about the animals, plants, and bugs that lived before the dinosaurs. Children will read "news reports" including a weather forecast from 320 million years ago and an emergency broadcast about the swift extinction that would end the Permian period. As kids peruse Bonner’s innovative combination of narrative text, engaging illustrations, hilarious cartoons, maps, charts, and time lines, they will gather lots of valuable scientific information about the amazing creatures that ruled the Earth before the dinosaurs.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Subtitled "A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs," this compendium of information about the animals, plants, weather patterns and landmasses that existed even before the rise of the dinosaur is a great resource for curious kids who like their science in bite-size portions. The book's journey begins in the coal swamps of 320 million years ago, when the Earth's continents were all grouped together and there was only one giant ocean. Over the next 100 million years, land masses separated and drifted; amphibians, ferns and insects grew huge; proto-dinosaur reptiles made their first appearance; and the remains of the gigantic plant life in this hot, swampy eco-system piled up, destined to be mined eons later as coal, after millions of years spent compressed under layers of rock and soil. Kids will love the easy-to-access format of this full-color, hardcover picture book, and its accurately detailed illustrations done in cartoon/graphic-novel style. Author/illustrator Bonner gives us scientific explanations and theories in easy-to-understand language, with lots of humor mixed in—a good style for the middle grade reader the book is designed to reach. Many pages feature comic book panels or cartoon bubble captions to give even more fun facts. Besides meeting such fascinating creatures as Arthropleura (a 6-foot long bug) and Archosaurus (a fierce, meat-eating proto-crocodile), readers will finally discover a scientific answer to the old question, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" The book includes extra materials such as a timeline of life on Earth; a section on 'where to learn more' about this fascinating subject; a glossary of words not defined in the text; a guide on howto pronounce the scientific names in the book; a glossary of words not defined in the text; and a complete index. 2003, National Graphic Society, Ages 9 to 12.
—Dianne Ochiltree
Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Bonner takes a lighthearted approach to a fascinating topic. The Carboniferous and Permian periods spanned 100 million years or so just before the better-known Mesozoic Era. The author describes many of the unusual plant and animal species from those times in a lively, conversational style. Cartoon illustrations decorate every page. Some of them are strictly informational, but most contain elements of humor as well. The facts and the fun work well together, and it's always clear which is which. In one three-panel strip, for example, two scientists offer legitimate theories regarding possible uses of a shark's (Akmonistion) spiny "turret," while a chef wishes that he could have used that unusual appendage as a cheese grater. Weather reports by well-dressed reptile ancestors, want ads for bug-eating amniotes, and pictures with word balloons are among the other comic features. The more straightforward drawings of the unusual creatures are clear and eye-catching, though not all include estimated size. A useful two-page illustrated time line gives a nice overview. Most of the species details are basic, with more emphasis on how life in general evolved during this time period. Readers also see how climate, geology, and other animals effected development. Most dinosaur books include just a page or two of pre-Triassic information, so this title offers valuable subject coverage in an appealing package.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A breezy look at the flora and fauna of 250-320 million years ago. Some of it, notably the hardy cockroach, is still with us; more, including giant, treelike lycopods ("Their young looked like hairy telephone poles, the full-grown ones like something out of a Dr. Seuss book") or the many-legged, six-foot-long Arthropleura-shown here next to a startled modern sunbather for scale-vanished in a mysterious mass extinction. Bonner surrounds a lively, specific narrative punctuated, but not weighted down, by tongue-twisting scientific names with a gallery of simply drawn, precisely detailed land and sea life-along with the occasional single or strip cartoon featuring, for instance, a toothy prehistoric meteorologist tracking climatic changes, or a primeval newspaper bearing the headline: WATERPROOF EGG A REALITY!" She then sums up the entire history of life on this planet with an illustrated timeline (featuring a bowl of "Primordial Soup"), and closes with cogent suggestions for further paper and Web resources. Dinosaurs tend to get all the press; young readers who wonder where they came from will find some answers here, memorably delivered. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792263265
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
03/01/2004
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.93(w) x 10.33(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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