Sunday 13 November 2016

Day of the Dinosaurs

Day of the Dinosaurs written by Dr Steve Brusatte, illustrated by Daniel Chester (Murdoch Books) HB RRP $29.99
ISBN 9781847808219

Reviewed by Daniela Andrews

The first thing you’re likely to notice about this great, large-format reference book is the bright colours used to depict the dinosaurs. Fluorescent-like shades of pink, green, yellow, blue and red adorn the pictures throughout. A publisher’s note asks that you ignore your preconceptions of dinosaur colours, since nobody really knows what they were anyway, and instead enjoy a much brighter look at the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. The illustrations are artistic, drawn digitally but with overlaid pencil lines for texture.

The factual information is well-presented via different methods. There is an actual narrative that features you, walking through the scenes depicted in the illustrations. It’s a great way to encourage readers to follow the book through from start-to-finish, rather than just dip in and out for information!

You’re enjoying your stroll through the Cretaceous, but a rustle from the bushes makes you jump back in fright. You have good reason to be scared. The biggest, scariest and nastiest predators of all terrorise the Cretaceous.

There are also charts, breakout text boxes, and figures illustrating the scale of the creatures respective to an average-sized person. Mostly, the information appears in brief paragraphs beside the pictures, targeted to kids aged between 8 and 11 years.

The book is introduced with a timeline and a dinosaur family tree before it flows through in a linear fashion to four sections – Triassic, Early-Middle Jurassic, Late Jurassic and Cretaceous. Each section presents information relevant to that era within the following headings – Herbivores, Predators, Life in the Seas, Life in the Sky, Field Notes: Diet, Weapons and a Dinosaur Close-Up. The design of the book incorporates consistently placed headings and icons, making the sections easy to find when flicking through the pages. An index has been included also. 

The narrative closes quite dramatically, with the reader needing to escape the asteroid hitting the planet. Although the day of the dinosaurs has ended, ‘the day of the mammals is beginning …’

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