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Book Reviews

New Dinos: The Latest Finds! the Coolest Dinosaur Discoveries!

by Shelley Tanaka, Alan Barnard, illus.

Shelley Tanaka has carved out a niche for herself writing strongly illustrated books about dramatic incidents in the past. Among other things, she has made Pearl Harbor, the Titanic, and Pompeii come alive for countless young readers. Supported by Alan Barnard’s vivid illustrations, she has already tackled dinosaurs in Graveyard of the Dinosaurs, but given that only about 1% of all dinosaur species have yet been found and that new discoveries are being made every seven weeks or so, there is certainly room for an update.

New Dinos covers recent finds in South America and Africa that introduce readers to fearsome new predators and even bigger herbivores. The book also outlines how sophisticated technologies, such as CT scans, are being used to look inside fossilized dinosaur hearts. Some of the information – for example, on the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs and on their links to birds – is already well known and most of the topics in the book have been extensively covered in the press. Although young experts may not be surprised by all the information here, it is good to see all the new stuff gathered in one place.

Alan Barnard’s vigorous illustrations make the new discoveries and ideas jump off the page, and they’re supported by some well-chosen photographs and short sidebars giving interesting, related background. New Dinos lacks the fictionalized stories that have marked other Shelley Tanaka books, but the text is clear and at an appropriate level and includes a good glossary, pronunciation guide, and index. The recommended reading list is brief but includes several web sites.

New Dinos is different enough to be snapped up as fodder for the apparently insatiable appetites of dinosaur-mad kids.