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Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like? Hardcover – October 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-7-This is a stellar look at the methods paleoartists employ to bring dinosaurs to life on paper. With a fascinating mix of text, expert quotes, and outstanding artwork, it showcases an aspect of paleontology that kids may not know much about. A lot of books focus on the action at paleontological digs and the reconstruction of what is found in them, but Thimmesh spotlights the gifted individuals who combine their talent with the latest scientific knowledge to layer muscles and flesh onto skeletal remains, adding another intriguing dimension to the study of these ancient creatures. These artistic sleuths pull together clues from plant and rock studies and other sources to create images as thrilling for the youngest dinosaur enthusiasts as they are informative for the most studied researchers. The highlighted paleoartists' renderings get full-bleed treatment, providing readers with a variety of spectacular interpretations of how dinosaurs appeared when they roamed the planet. Complementing the exceptional illustrations is an engaging, informative text written in a conversational tone. Artist profiles are included. The book is presented in a striking palette of saturated earth tones, completing a terrific package that will draw in browsers and serve report writers while inspiring young artists to consider applying their skills to this enthralling field.-Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, ARα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Most books about dinosaurs gloss over the obvious question posed in this book’s subtitle. The challenge of reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton from an incomplete set of fossil bones is only the first step in knowing what it looked like. In researching this original volume, Thimmesh interviewed a number of paleoartists, whose job is to illustrate different prehistoric species based on incomplete knowledge of their bones, muscles, and skin textures and colors, as well as their distinctive features, movements, habits, and habitats. Drawings, paintings, and models from different periods illustrate the book, accompanied by informative commentary in both the captions and text. Though the audience may be small, this will fascinate those whose interests include paleontological research and illustration, as well as some readers who were earlier intrigued by Kathleen Kudlinski’s picture book Boy, Were We Wrong about Dinosaurs! (2005). Ultimately, Thimmesh raises good questions, finds some intriguing answers, and leaves others for readers to ponder. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1130L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547991347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547991344
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hez on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Travel through time to Discover dinosaurs in detail - and uncover new, fascinating facts about these unusual creatures!!! Catherine Thimmesh has a gift for appealing to all audiences! She will grab the attention of young children with her compelling dinosaur composition and illustrations; immerse the nonfiction enthusiast with the cool scientific details and inform all ages about careers in science and paleontology. Have you heard of a paleoartist? " Scaly, Spotted, Feathered, Frilled: How do we really know what dinosaurs looked like?" follows in the tradition of Catherine's previous award winning non fiction books for children!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CP on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating examination of how scientists and more specifically paleoartists decide how to depict dinosaurs in pictures, paintings, and scientific models. Discusses how this process has changed over the years as our understanding of dinosaurs has become more complete. Compares past images of dinosaurs with those used today. Includes details about how scientists and artists use bones and fossilized skin imprints to "build" a dinosaur.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is for anyone (children and adults) captivated by the journey of discovery! Thimmesh skillfully describes and depicts the evolution of thought on dinosaurs. Using scientific evidence, our knowledge of dinosaurs has been radically enriched over the last decade; not just in terms of their physical appearance, but on many levels: habitat, interaction, movement, etc. Scaly, Spotted, Feathered, Frilled clearly shows that science is not a static set of facts… that discoveries enhance our understanding… this perspective and frame of reference is exactly what I want to cultivate in young minds!

Through this book, I have also gained an appreciation for the genius of paleoartists… isn't it amazing to be able to take mere fossils and bones and be able to make them come alive into fantastic, ferocious creatures?
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By J. McGuire on January 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fun for young readers (and their parents) - accessible and informational. My daughter can't put it down! Who knew the princess would love dinosaurs so much.
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By abitarita on January 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my grandson for Christmas. He is a dinosaur expert (at 6 years old). He loved it.
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