The Comic Strip Book of Dinosaurs by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner
|The Comic Strip Book of Dinosaurs by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A fussy, frustrating cartoon guide to prehistory.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 96||Date: July 2012|
If I asked you all to put your hands up if you had a dinosaur book as a youth I'd feel the draught from here. My grander examples certainly stayed on my shelves for years and survived several readings, and I'm sure that's not unique - plus, over the intervening years science has learnt a lot of extra facts, to make the books more accurate. Here then, for the 5-9s, is a primer of prehistory, and one such as the young me never had.
... Which is a good thing, for my adult sensibilities think this is most unappealing. Dinosaurs splash onto the crisp, white pages in all their diversity, apparent ferocity and alleged luminosity, so bright are some of the colours. But they all feel the need to say something. What's worse, half their speech bubbles are something stupid, such as Nnng. I don't even know how to pronounce it, let alond why it's here. Oh and here's Nnngy nnnga for variety, and even a scientist going Nnng! Nnnng! Nnnng!. What the sauropod is all that about?
Of several large problems with the book is that it never says we have no idea what they sounded like, only guesstimates. Blink and you miss the question about what colour they were - and instead of saying we're not sure we just colour them lurid. And it never once mentions the coldbloodedness of them (possibly as that's not for certain any more, either). We do get apologies, however, every time a page has dinosaurs from thousands of miles or millions of years apart on it together, but that's far too often for its own good. You'd get a clearer sense of prehistory from a pack of dinosaur Top Trumps, however much you shuffled them.
A final critique is all these dinosaurs do is eat. I'm not suggesting they should sit and crochet something, but again the noisy, cartoonish world in these pages panders to the lowest denominator. Which is really frustrati-nnng (or grr as fossil-finder extraordinaire Mary Anning once said) as the book is clever enough to snap through fossil formation in two pages, and evolution in another spread. This is bright, this is pacey, this is very childish and that might make it perfect for some, but call me an old anorak - I don't think the subject is served best by this inaccurate flippancy and cartooning. If it does turn the young on to the subject against my expectations then all well and good, but it won't be one of those staying on the shelves a long time.
I must still thank the publishers for my review copy.
We got on a lot better with the other books by this partnership.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Comic Strip Book of Dinosaurs by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner at Amazon.com.
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