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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'dinosaurs'.

Living with a dinosaur fan can be fun, and I know I've been exposed to and learned so much more about dinosaurs and fossils than I ever did as a kid, thanks to my son taking an interest in them. In Search of Dinosaurs is a dinosaur book that helps to make some connections between the artistic recreations of Mesozoic animals that we see and the fossil dig sites where information about these creatures and environments is collected.

There is a section for each of the three time periods in the Mesozoic Era, and each follows the same format. First we see an artist's recreation of a hypothetical fossil dig. On the next few pages, we see scenes (without text) of what these animals may have looked like when they were alive. This gives readers the opportunity to go back and forth between the fossils and creatures and see if they can figure out which of the living creatures (or parts of them) are represented in the dig.

These scenes are followed by smaller pictures and information blurbs about each creatures -- mostly dinosaurs, but also some other animals such as Cretaceous turtles, as well as ammonites, metaposaurus, a small mammal, etc. There are plenty of good tidbits of information here, but they're presented in a way that's easy to follow. Since the fossils are presented "in context," we also learn a bit more about the kinds of things paleontologists find in digs, and some of the ways they can find clues as to the dinosaurs' behaviors and environments.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Dougal Dixon
Pages: 44
Content Advisory: None

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Prehistoric Actual Size is a really neat book that highlights several extinct species from long ago, including some dinosaurs, but also other kinds of animals such as a giant millipede, a terrifying-looking horned rodent, and a "terror bird," among others. Since dinosaurs tend to get most of the attention in the prehistoric world, it's nice to see a variety of creatures here.

The illustrations show each creature as their actual size, as the title indicates, which is easy for some, but for others means only small parts of them actually fit in the book, such as teeth or a claw. It's a fairly large-sized book, but it also includes a fold-out page to give a bit more room to a few creatures.

Scrounged From: A used book sale

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Steve Jenkins 
Pages: 36
Content Advisory: None

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Dictionary of Dinosaurs is a really neat collection that lists all the dinosaurs discovered up to this point. Length, diet, and when/where the animal lived are provided for each dinosaur, as well as a name pronounciation guide (very helpful!) and the meaning of the name, some of which are very interesting. I learned that there is a dinosaur whose name was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem (borogovia)!

On each page, a dinosaur or two (but not all of them) are highlighted with a color picture, a blurb of information, and a silhouetted picture comparing the dinosaur's size to that of a human. Most of the more well-known dinosaurs (tyrannosaurus, stegosaurus) are highlighted this way. Since marine reptiles and flying reptiles are no longer considered "dinosaurs" (something that apparently happened between when I was a kid and when I had kids old enough to like dinosaurs), they are unfortunately not included in this book.

In the beginning of the book is some general information about time periods, fossils, etc., but I found this statement interesting: 

"New information about dinosaurs is being discovered all the time. Dinosaurs often change name, or their dates change once more information is found out about them. This means it's a very exciting field to get into and learn about. You could even discover or name the next dinosaur one day!"

In other places, the book notes that certain dinosaurs may not actually be separate species, but scientists made the best guess they could based on the evidence. I really like the way this portrays science as an ongoing effort rather than a static collection of information. 

As is obvious from the title, this isn't likely the kind of book you'd want to sit down and read all in one sitting, but it's a great reference for dinosaur-loving kids, full of colorful pictures and current information -- for now!

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Matthew G. Baron
Illustrator: Dieter Braun
Pages: 184
Content Advisory: None

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We enjoy reading about dinosaurs and fossils around here, so I found The 50 State Fossils: A Guidebook for Aspiring Paleontologists not only a great introduction to fossils, but also a unique viewpoint on American geography. Since fossils are found all over the world, it's sometimes hard to remember which dinosaurs roamed when and where, etc. This book helps to give fossils a distinctly American context.

Of course, while dinosaurs are probably the most famous and cool fossils out there, the general category of "fossils" involves a lot more: mammoths and other ancient mammals, plants, shells, footprints, and more. It was interesting to read about which kinds of fossils are more common in which states. For the few states that do not yet have an official state fossil or dinosaur, the book gives a brief history of attempts as well as a suggestion or two of what might make a good choice. I really had no idea what my state's fossil was, so I appreciated getting the chance to read more about it (pertica -- a unique plant).

There is a page here for each state, which includes the fossil name, scientific name, time period, a couple illustrations and/or photos, and a several-paragraph description. The beginning of the book gives some information about how fossilization occurs, time periods, etc., while the end of the book includes a glossary and also a list of places (such as museums), per state, where you can visit to see fossils. Very cool and informative!

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Yinan Wang
Illustrator: Jane Levy
Pages: 64
Content Advisory: None

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Barnum's Bones was a really neat story of a historical figure I'd never heard of before. Since my five-year-old is a dinosaur enthusiast, we both enjoyed this story about the man who discovered the first documented Tyrannosaurus skeleton.

Barnum Brown seems an almost larger-than-life figure as his obsession with fossils compels him to attend school, become a paleontologist, and spend his life searching all over the world for as many fossils as he can "sniff out." But what he really wants is to discover something new -- something that will make the American Museum of Natural History proud.

While it doesn't happen immediately (and the process is especially slow since it was limited to turn-of-the-twentieth-century technology -- horses, wagons, and trains), he does eventually discover the bottom half (ish) of a Tyrannosaurus, but it is several years later before he gets back to a nearby spot and finally finds the enormous head. What it must have been like to be an ordinary person in those days and be astounded at these new kinds of discoveries! 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Tracey Fern
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Pages: 36
Content Advisory: None

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