Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland

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Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A new approach to giving us dinosaur data, that brings them not only to life but to our very neighbourhoods.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: October 2017
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781786030344

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You might think, what with books about dinosaurs being just as varied (and almost as old) as dinosaurs themselves, that there was little to say about them that hadn't been said, and few new ways of giving us information about them. Well, I would put it to you that this is a novel variant. Over many jumbo spreads, we get a different dinosaur in a different situation each time, whether it be being born, being slain or learning to fly, and the book gives us all the usual facts, not in chronological order, nor in some other more spurious fashion, but grouped by where these dinosaurs lived. The continent-wide chapters have several entrants in each, and what with the book hitting all corners of our current globe, it brings the world of dinosaur remains right to our door, and makes this old subject feel remarkably new…

I liked this book a lot for the information it gave, mentioning many prehistoric critters that were unknown to me – I think I read recently there have been 700+ distinct species found, so there is much for me to be ignorant about, in fairness. The incidents where we meet them all are rich and varied, and to that end they often feature more than one type of animal (hunter and prey together, of course, or animals just flying or ambling by in the background). We get a large paragraph discussing what we're seeing and where in the current world we are, and each image is peppered with half a dozen captions, which, with the packed world, can often concern a minor creature a little too predominantly (you may wonder what the subject of the page actually is when T rex meets the animals it's corralled into a canyon). Finally a wee little databank summarises the diet, era, size and so on of each main subject.

With the book being so visual a lot rests on the artwork, and I have to report mixed feelings about this. The scenes are lovely to look at, for sure – no effort has been spared in making them suitably interesting, varied and even quite moody at times. The creatures can look quite alive, as well – but then they also look far too cartoonish and lurid. I'm from the era when any ideas about colouring, boneless flaps and blushing etc for these beasts was all guess-work based on what's around today, but this book has everything in vivid, gaudy colour that rankles even now I know we can tell more from the actual remains. These really are neon bright at times.

What's more, they also have elements that are just too daft and childish – dinosaurs wielding binoculars, fishing rods, pith helmets and so on. How do we know which creatures are hunter/killers? Because they have butterfly nets with them. T rex and others even have serviettes round their neck ready for dinner. I feel sure this book will appeal to several different age ranges, but even for the young browser such flippancy is a little too much. That aside, there is a heck of a lot to recommend here. By proving to all readers, whether they be in Romania, Brazil or Surrey(!) that they had a dinosaur close to them, we get to see the simple but worthwhile lesson that these creatures would have been all around us at one point in time or another. That immediacy is most welcome, and the act of putting these animals on our doorstep surely doesn't harm the chance of a reader growing up to, say, find species number 800 in the future.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Life on Earth: Dinosaurs: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps! by Heather Alexander and Andres Lozano is a great entrant to a very interactive series that will teach the young more than enough. The creators of this book have done something more like a standard atlas, too.

Buy Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures: Step Into a Prehistoric World by Emily Hawkins and Lucy Letherland at Amazon.com.


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