by Hazel Richardson
This book is a sort of field guide to dinosaurs. If you're interested in prehistoric beasts, it's a great reference. The first part of the book has a family tree showing the classification of life forms and how dinosaur (and other ancient animal) groups are related to each other.There is an explanation of what classifies animals as dinosaurs, a geological timeline, details on how fossils are formed and then a description of each major time period with its characteristics and signature life forms. All of these things are presented in a lot more detail than the other books I've read. The bulk of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life is made up of animal profiles, highly pictorial, each pointing out key features of the animal and organized by both time frame and habitat. There are 200 dinosaurs, pterosaurs, early mammals and other creatures featured, and at the back is a list of 300 more that were not included in the main body. A lot of these bizarre and fantastical animals were ones I'd never seen or heard of before. Even my husband was exclaiming with amazement when I periodically interrupted what he was doing to show him one or the other. One thing I kept thinking as I looked at all the varied dinosaur forms, especially those with horns and spiky backs was, is this where the idea of dragons came from? Stick a pair of leathery wings on any of a number of these beasts and it would look like a really cool dragon. I wonder if early scientists put a few skeletons together wrong and thought they'd found evidence of dragons.
Rating: 4/5 ........ 224 pages, 2003
More opinions at: Friday Sprog