Prehistory is stranger than fiction. Nothing proves that better than Sharks and Other Sea Monsters, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart's Encyclopedia Prehistorica pop-up sequel to the superlatively popular Dinosaurs. As frightening as those dinosaurs were, they would have difficulty matching the chomping ability of these Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sea creatures. The mighty megalodon, for example, could swallow a hippo whole, and the sarcosuchus had teeth the size of railroad spikes! Once again, master paper engineers Sabuda and Reinhart display their subjects in unforgettably vivid three-dimensional form.
Favorite formats and characters continue in a plethora of spring picture books. Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart follows their impressive Dinosaurs, and it's every bit as stunning. The "monstrous pterygotus," a lobster-like creature that's "bigger than most adult humans" pops up in the very first spread. Mini-booklets once again zero in on specific topics, such as invertebrates and amphibians, while sturdy transparent sheets create a 3-D underwater effect. Fans of Dinosaurs will appreciate the sarcusuchus (aka "dino-killer"), a precursor to the crocodile, and those who shuddered at the teeth of the T. rex in book one will similarly shrink from the jaws of an open-mouthed shark in this volume. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This is one of two Sabuda/Reinhardt pop-up books in the "Encyclopedia Prehistorica" series. Both are approximately 7 ½" wide by 9 ½" high and 2 ½" deep. It becomes 3" deep on the front edges when released from the clear wrapping in which each book is shipped to the stores. The depth, of course, is due to the hundreds of folds of paper used in the production of this amazing book. There are six double-page spreads, each with a central pop-up structure so large that it stretches beyond the dimensions of the book when it is opened, and up to four small side booklets secured into the corners of the pages. This might be the place to suggest that, although the publisher mentions five and up as an appropriate age for readers of this book, it will frequently take an older reader to assure that every bend and fold goes back into place as the pages are turned. The last page, in particular, needs a gentle push inward on the big sea lizard's neck before it folds back into place. To indicate the diversity of motions and effects encountered, the small three-page booklet tucked into the lower left hand side of the first page features three separate pop-up scenes. The first, from the Paleozoic Era, illustrates a prehistoric amphibian crawling out of the sea (a transparent sheet of stiff blue green plastic) to begin life on land. The second page in the same booklet shows three Mesozoic Era reptiles (a pterosaurus, a plesiosaurus, and an ichthyosaurus) flailing about. The third page, depicting the Cenozoic Era, has whales, dolphins, and, emerging from a hole in the sea, seal-like creatures with saws for teeth. Those are the little pop-ups! The major pop-ups include a giant half crab-half octopus, anenormous underwater scorpion, a ridgeback crocodile going after a dinosaur, a battle of long-necked sea lizards, and a Kronosaurus skeleton. Tantalizing facts and fascinating conjectures are all presented in a style more sprightly than scientific, and certainly more entertaining. 2006, Candlewick Press, Ages 5 up.
Gr 1-5-This companion to Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs (Candlewick, 2005) uses equally amazing pop-up illustrations to introduce a fascinating array of ancient sea creatures. From the creepy-crawly invertebrates of the Paleozoic Era to the toothy reptiles of the Mesozoic to the mammoth mammals of the Cenozoic, the enjoyably chatty text offers brief sketches of the changing environment and its inhabitants. The colorful spreads feature large, often breathtaking paper-engineered renderings of prehistoric species, supplemented by smaller, booklike foldouts that provide additional information along with more visual fireworks. Readers will meet a feisty pterygotus (a lobster look-alike that grew to seven feet), an eight-ton sarcosuchus (a crocodilian with a "horrendous overbite, and-nearly 100 teeth, some the size of railroad spikes!"), and a massive megalodon (a shark ancestor with jaws that "could open wide enough to swallow a hippopotamus whole"). Spectacular effects include a three-dimensional kronosaurus skeleton with intricately sculpted vertebrae, tinted plastic inserts that evoke murky underwater scenes, and an action-packed, pop-up battle between two long-necked behemoths. There is not much detail here, but the authors do include amusing tidbits about outlandish fossil hunters and references to legendary monsters (Kraken, giant sea snakes, etc). Fun from cover to cover, this attention-grabbing offering will captivate readers, despite its delicate structure and limited shelf life.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Robert Sabuda’s finest pop-up book to date. . . . A real work of art.
Flipping through…is like witnessing the grand finale of a fireworks display.
—New York Times Book Review