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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book review: There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere!: A Rhyming Romp Through Dinosaur History by Howard Temperley

There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere!: A Rhyming Romp Through Dinosaur History
Howard Temperley Illustrations by Michael Kline
KWS Publishers
  • ISBN9781937783167
  • Price24.95
  • CurrencyUSD
  • EditionPaperback
Do you have a young dinosaur-lover in your home?  There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere! represents a light-hearted look at dinosaurs with Michael Kane doing an excellent job drawing compelling illustrations.  Despite the verse, the book is largely a nonfiction work, targeting those precocious ones with an unquenchable thirst for all-things-dinosaur.

The book treats early dinosaurs (evolution, Scutosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Lesothosaurus, Diplodocus, Barosaurus), finding them (fossils, paleontologists), flying dinosaurs (Microraptor, Incisivosaurus, Caudipteryx, Pterosaurs, Pterodactylus), dinosaur facts (intelligence, diet, digestion), sea dinosaurs (Ichthyosaurus, Liopleurodon), later dinosaurs (Velociraptor, Carcharodontosaurus, Styracosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Troodon, Euoplocephalus, Oviraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex, Ankylosaurus, Triceratops), and the end of dinosaurs.

The choice of verse as the method of presentation--as well as the subtitle's "Rhyming Romp"--might lead one to suspect a book of humorous verse.  Perhaps this is a symptom of reading Shel Silverstein.  Some poems are written as humor, others as non-sequitors, a few as moral compasses (eat your organic veggies), but most are just an alternate presentation of nonfiction--maybe with the design of better recall.  

Yet more humor might have given the book a longer longevity, no matter how low the humor.  It is written for young people, after all. And if adults are to read it, you'll want to give them something to take pleasure in, more than rhyme and illustrations.  However, the author does prove capable of humor:

This scutosaur is a sorry sight,
...It looks as if its life's a bore.
I'm glad I'm not a scutosaur.

The balance of fact and humor might have been too difficult to navigate.  Still, it is a book sure to please young dinosaur-lovers everywhere.

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