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Dinosaurs with Feathers: The Ancestors of Modern Birds Hardcover – September 17, 2001
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Starting with the discovery of the first Archaeopteryx fossil in 1861, Arnold traces the relationship between dinosaurs and modern birds. Along the way she shares a wealth of information about how and why scientists classify ancient species. The skeletal features of theropods, for example, share many commonalities with birds. Arnold describes these traits, then gives specific examples of dinosaur species that strongly support the connection. Several pages on the feathers of dinosaurs also include general speculation along with particular facts about several recently discovered Chinese fossils. Caple's watercolors are clear and lively, and not overly dramatic. Some depict the creatures in their natural settings, while others show the figure only, against a white background. The illustrations that compare the features of individual dinosaurs to those birds that they resemble are especially effective. Arnold distinguishes speculation from known facts with phrases such as "most likely" and "may have." Christopher Sloan's Feathered Dinosaurs (National Geographic, 2000) covers much the same ground, in a slightly livelier style, but the pleasing clarity of Arnold's prose and Caple's drawings makes this an equally worthwhile choice.
Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-5. Although the pace of discovery practically guarantees that this will be out of date by the time it reaches library shelves, Arnold's brief survey of recent and not-so-recent finds will excite children unaware of some startling developments in our understanding of prehistoric life. In a connected narrative matched to an array of artfully posed reconstructions, Arnold identifies more than a dozen types of theropods and related ancient creatures that seem to have sported feathers or featherlike structures, pointing out several anatomical features they shared with each other, and with birds of today. Caple's pale palette isn't as dramatic as the vivid colors in Christopher Sloan's Feathered Dinosaurs (2000), which will grab browsers first. But as a source of systematically presented information for younger readers, this book will be a valuable additional purchase. John Peters
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