The subtitle, The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever, sets its sights high, but this impressive, oversize volume lives up to the claim. Lessem has written more than 40 books on dinosaurs, and in the opening chapter here, he presents broad basics on their behavior and habitats as well as a look at major discoveries in paleontology. However, it’s the later chapters, which devote two pages each to specific dinosaurs, that will hook hard-core dino lovers. The etymology of each dinosaur name is explained, and each is written phonetically so that readers can share their newly acquired knowledge with perfect pronunciation. Tempesta’s full-page illustrations appear on every spread and jump off the page, and the dynamic layout, with fact boxes, captions, and a main text, is immensely appealing. A concluding 40-page “Dino-Dictionary” keys each dinosaur to its family group and provides additional fodder for dinosaur trivia. Books on this topic are certainly nothing new, but Lessem’s comprehensive overview will satisfy the interested browser as much as the ardent dinosaur enthusiast. Grades 3-6. --Erin Anderson
About the Author
Don Lessem is a premier dinosaur populariser. A former animal behaviourist who began his dinosaur studies as a Journalism Fellow at MIT, he is the author of more than 20 dinosaur books for adults and children, advisor to Jurassic Park and Disney Dinosaur films, writer and host of NOVA and Discovery Channel programs, creator of several traveling dinosaur museum exhibits, and dinosaur columnist for Highlights Magazine. His most popular travelling exhibition, The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park toured America with attendance surpassing 3 million people, raising nearly $2 million for dinosaur research. Mr. Lessem has spent the last 15 years travelling the world in search of dinosaurs, from Mongolia to Arctic Alaska.