Monday, November 30, 2009

Nonfiction Monday - Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!

Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!, written and illustrated by Bob Barner, offers a look at prehistoric life both large and small, as well as the role that butterflies played in fostering the growth of flowering plants. Written on two levels to engage a variety of readers, you'll first find simple text describing the basic action.
"Flowering plants made more air for dinosaurs to breathe and huge amounts of food for them to eat."
This text is set in a larger font and displayed more prominently on the page. This text is accompanied by more detailed informational text, found near the bottom of each page spread and set in a smaller font.
Dinosaurs were accidental farmers that helped plants grow. As they walked, their feet opened the soil, and their droppings fertilized seeds that grew into new plants.
Each turn of the page reveals energetic and bold illustrations covering a double-page spread. The first spread, packed with dinosaurs, gives way to a page filled with butterflies and flowers. Each paper collage is filled with bright colors, textures, and fine details, like those found on the butterfly wings.

While simplified for the youngest readers, the text is still highly informative. Here are some things readers will learn.
  • Butterflies spread pollen, which helped flowering plants flourish.
  • Widespread availability of flowering plants meant more food for herbivores, and likewise, more food for carnivores. (For older students there's a great food chain lesson here!)
  • While a catastrophic event caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, butterflies and other smaller animals lived.
  • Today more than 18,000 types of butterflies are known.
The book ends with an easy-to-read timeline (great for young readers just becoming familiar with this concept) and a final spread of interesting facts about plants, caterpillars, insects, and more.

Barner doesn't gloss over the fact that there is still much we don't know about dinosaurs and other animals that lived in prehistoric times, butterflies included. He reminds readers that "As with dinosaurs, no one knows the colors of these ancient creatures." He ends on the enticing notion that "Many plant, butterfly, and dinosaur secrets remain hidden in fossils and rocks waiting to be found, maybe by you." Wouldn't that be amazing?

Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR! is a wonderful blend of art and science. For dinosaur lovers, as well as kids interested in butterflies, this book is a winner. Barner's book will make a great addition to all those units on butterfly life cycles. Introducing a bit of butterfly history will be a wonderful way to round out the study of these amazing creatures. Download the teacher's guide for some additional ideas for using the book in the classroom. Highly recommended.

Book: Dinosaurs ROAR, Butterflies SOAR!
Author/Illustrator: Bob Barner
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April, 2009
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-3
ISBN: 978-0811856638
Source of Book: Personal copy.

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Hosting this week is Robin Gaphni at The Booknosher. Do take some time to check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.


  1. This looks good. I'll have to check it out.

  2. I must find this immediately for my daughters, still obsessed with dinosarus. Thanks for the review!

  3. I've got lots to thank you for today - Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 arrived in the post today - bought for my daughter's birthday just before Christmas to go with a load of space themed lego she will be inheriting, and now I shall have to order this lovely sounding book - she loves butterflies and is having a dinosaur themed birthday party!

  4. I meant to say I bought Moonshot on the basis of your review and am so pleased I did!

  5. Sounds terrific!