Friday, August 08, 2008

Nonfiction Nuggets - A Dinosaur Trio

Okay, I know some of you saw the word dinosaur and turned-tail and ran, but hey, I'm the mother of a seven year old. Dinosaurs are a way of life around here. This terrific trio of books has kept up entertained and asking lots of questions this week.

Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, written by Kathleen Kudlinski and illustrated by S.D. Schindler - What do we know about dinosaurs and how does our current knowledge compare to the past? This book not only describes the changing ideas about dinosaurs, but also makes it clear to readers that as more evidence is unearthed, our ideas are likely to change again. We enjoyed looking at the pictures that compared "old" ideas about the way dinosaurs looked to the views held today, and marveled at the images of dinosaurs with feathers. This is a great introduction to dinosaurs and a wonderful treatment of the work scientists do as they work to expand our understanding of the world.

Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (And Others) Left Behind, written by Jacob Berkowitz and illustrated by Steve Mack - The back cover of the book reads, "Get the inside scoop on ancient poop." This is a boy's dream--dinosaurs and poop in one book! I'm not a fan of potty books or humor, but must admit that this book is a real gem. Chapter 1, A Message From A Bottom, begins with illustrations of a T-Rex leaving a turd "larger than two loaves of bread" and shows how that "king-sized poop" becomes a coprolite. Coprolite is the "polite word for fossil feces." Readers learn that coprolites can be frozen, dried or lithified. They also learn about doo-doo detectives (scientists who study coprolites) and much more. There is humor in this book, a huge number of synonyms for poop, and a TON of science.

Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries, written and illustrated by Don Brown - Mary Anning was a woman who became known for her discoveries of dinosaur fossils. Born in 1799, Mary hunted for fossils with her father and brother before the word dinosaur was even invented. By 1836, Mary has found fossils of ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, a pterodactyl and more. In fact, the pterodactyl Mary found is still on display at the British Natural History Museum. Mary Anning's life was not an easy one, a fact that makes her story even more remarkable. Reading it made us want to head to a nearby beach to do some fossil hunting of our own, or at the very least, spend some time looking at some real fossils.

All three of these books provide interesting perspectives on dinosaurs. If you are looking for something different from the standard "dinosaur inventory" type of book, give these titles a try.

If you want a bit of online entertainment, try the Dinosaurs site from the Natural History Museum.


  1. I'll look out for these! I've become really interested in dinosaurs since I worked at the Edinburgh Science Festival this year, in the Dinosaur Dig, where the kids all knew more than the staff (not enough paeantologists around I guess).

  2. Tricia,

    I love RARE TREASURE--and all of Don Brown's picture book biographies. Don was the featured speaker at the winter dinner meeting of our reading council in 2006. He's a very interesting and knowledgeable man.

    JURASSIC POOP is a book I read recently. You're right--it is a boy's dream!

  3. I so need Jurassic Poop, both for my dinosaur collection (have the other two already -- SCORE!), and to go with Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable and Everyone Poops.

  4. Hi there! I saw your page and enjoyed reading it so I added it to my blogroll! I am actually about to do a thesis-type project on the use of children's literature in the classroom, so I found your page particularly interesting!!! I look forward to reading more! :)