From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–Kudlinski presents a number of early dino theories–a spike on the nose of the Iguanodon, drawings that depicted dinosaurs dragging their tails in the mud and running on spraddled, lizardlike legs–and shows, in her simple text, how further discoveries disproved these, and other, assumptions. She includes data on present-day concerns with such topics as scales and feathers, coloration, and infant care. She discusses the demise of the dinosaurs, the probable evolution of birds, and the fact that some books still on library shelves and even for sale in bookstores may be promulgating old, disproved theories. One small carp: lizards do not just lay their eggs on the ground, then leave. They tend to dig holes or provide other shelter for their eggs first, and then, yes, they leave. Graced with colorful, realistic illustrations that reflect the text, this book is simple, attractive, and informative, and a take-off point for a discussion on the scientific method.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. What could be more heartening to children than the unabashed admission that grown-ups make mistakes? Science has had its share of theories once accepted as fact but later superseded, and the mystery of dinosaur fossils seems to have brought out the imaginative side of scientists. Beginning with the ancient Chinese, who decided that dinosaur fossils came from dragons that still lived, the story fast-forwards to nineteenth-century scientists, who guessed that Iguanodon's sharp, conical bone was a spike on its head, rather than a spur on its hand. One mistaken idea after another is examined and illustrated with an ink drawing juxtaposed against a single-color background. Further information comes to light, and the information is corrected on a page showing a dinosaur drawing tinted with full-color washes. Intelligently designed and imaginatively conceived, the artwork makes the text more understandable and the whole book more beautiful. It also reflects the outlook of the text, portraying the scientists of each generation as earnest, sometimes puzzled searchers who did the best they could with the evidence available. The ending returns to the Chinese beliefs, stating that if birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, then they still live. Best of all, the closing paragraph acknowledges that the search is not over yet: the children fascinated by this book may one day find new answers to old questions about the dinosaurs. Carolyn Phelan
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