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Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs! Hardcover – September 22, 2005

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*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 Science has had its share of theories once accepted as fact but later superseded, and the mystery of dinosaur fossils seems to have brought out the imaginative side of scientists.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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (September 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525469788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525469780
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathleen Kudlinski was born in Philadelphia PA in 1950. She studied art and Biology at the University of Maine and became a science teacher, sharing her love of science with kids.
Since then she has written more than 40 books for kids, including science, biography and historical fiction. Kathleen's series starter BOY, WERE WE WRONG ABOUT DINOSAURS! won an Oppenheim Gold Award. Others earned NSTA and NTSS awards as well as appearing in many book clubs and being translated into 5 languages.
Bird watching, painting animals, nature "walking" on her red hot ATV, teaching writing, and Skyping with classrooms world-wide keeps her busy.
Kathleen writes by a window overlooking a pond at the home in Guilford, CT she shares with her husband, Hank. Sometimes she writes in the log cabin they built together in Weathersfield, VT. In either place, nature is all around, a macaw clings to her shoulder and a pit bull warms her feet.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Miriam Axel-Lute on March 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
A pretty great book, full of neat stories such as people mistaking Iguanodons' massive conical thumb bones for horns until they found a complete skeleton, or how some bone cross-sections look more like those of warm-blooded animals than of cold-blooded ones--which is part of what spurred the whole movement toward dinosaurs-as-bird-ancestors and away from dinosaurs-as-big-lizards.

But the book also is a better example of how science works than it really set out to be: It contains two glaring examples of how, for all the real power of the scientific method and (most) scientists' genuine commitment to objectivity and open-mindedness, science is carried out (and interpreted and written about) by people who are subject, to a greater or lesser extent, to all the biases and assumptions of their day. Those blinders creep into their conclusions far more than they would like to admit.

For example, one of the points that the book makes is that we used to think of dinosaurs as having reptile-like parenting skills--i.e., none; they lay eggs and leave. But then paleontologists found evidence (such as nests with older hatchlings in them) that dinosaurs may have been more active parents.

Except the book doesn't say parents.

It says mothers. Over and over.

I have no need to project egalitarian parenting onto other species, where it often doesn't exist. But since it does exist among birds quite often, I would have been pretty slow to make such a massive assumption and present it as a "discovery."

And in fact, last December a flurry of articles about active dinosaur dads came out--some researchers think in some cases they were the primary parent.

Boy, was the book wrong--not in a scientific way though, in a lazy way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By George Buttner VINE VOICE on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Boy, Were We Wrong About the Dinosaurs!" is a wonderful picture book that teaches us about past perceptions about dinosaurs, and where the research is headed today. In this book, you'll that there have been a lot of thoughts about dinosaurs in the past that may not actually be true -- such as that dinosaurs were purely cold-blooded, or that dinosaurs were all really scaly. The book has wonderful illustrations to reinforce its points, and covers the basics with just enough detail to keep all audiences captivated.

Perhaps you remember that dinosaur report you had to give him when you were a student back in school. You told your classmates all those facts you read about the dinosaurs, only now to discover that many of them have turned out not to be true. Boy were your teachers wrong about the dinosaurs!

But what this book is telling us, and it's a great lesson to take away, is that we all do the best with what we can. Just keep an open mind, remember that science is ongoing proces, and don't be too certain of anything. Perhaps, if we keep these things in mind, we'll someday find out the real truth about the dinosaurs, or something very close to it.

A wonderful, thoughtful, and informative book. It's inpsired me to look into reading some of the author's other relases, such as "Boy, Were We Wrong About the Human Body!"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chuckela on June 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
We just got this book from the library today and I came online to buy it because I just love it. It gives a little information about a lot of topics, without pushing anything too hard. Most importantly to my taste, it describes the constant progression of scientific understanding. But the book also touches gently on various cultural interpretations of fossils, the archaeology involved in finding the fossils, the continued development of technological tools for studying the same physical evidence, the hope of the next generation of minds, and the certainty that change will come. Very succint too. My dino-loving-three-year-old and my very-precocious-six-year-old both absolutely loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookd on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A student of mine picked this up at a dinosaur museum and I have since bought it for several children as a gift. It is so informative and the illustrations are great! I also bought one for infant my son for when he's older!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luis A. Hernandez on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was at "The art of storytelling festival" with my children at the public library, and while my wife was waiting in line at the face painting tent, I decided to sit for a minute with my baby in the children's section. Sitting on the table was this book. Since my son loves dinosaurs, I decided to read through it to see if it's one of those that I would like to read to him.

I was so impressed with this book, I took it with me and checked it out right away. The book explains how when dinosaur fossils were first found, people didn't really know what they were, and so they came up with different explanations, like maybe they were dragon bones. Next, it explains one by one many of the misconceptions that scientists have had over the years and how they were proven wrong. Specifically it mentions that once we thought that dinosaurs all dragged their tails on the ground, but now we believe they held them up when they walked; we used to believe that all dinosaurs were cold blooded but that now we believe that they were warm blooded. We used to think that that were bowlegged, but know we know their legs bent in much the same way that other animals like buffalo or horses do; we used to think that all dinosaurs were scaly, but now we know that many of them had down or feathers.

This book, without meaning to, emphasizes that science and humans don't know everything, but that there is a long process to testing ideas out, and that there is nothing wrong with discarding old beliefs when new discoveries point in a new direction. Most interesting of all, the last pages of the book explain the current belief that modern birds descended from some of the smaller, feathered dinosaurs, and so in a way birds are like living dinosaurs!

The book had beautiful pictures and is short enough for an early reader to get through, but informational enough for even older children to enjoy.
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