GUEST POST – Dinosaur Books

Today I am lucky to have a guest post by +Maria L Hughes She is a children’s book enthusiast, parent, and online publisher for childrensbookstore.com. She enjoys blogging about reading and kids books. Today she is recommending some books about dinosaurs for all age groups. What better place to rec dinosaur books, than on this Dino blog.

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The Best Kid’s Books on Dinosaurs

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs?  I can’t think of a single one, not my own children or their friends, who have a bad thing to say about the long extinct creatures.  The mere sight of one can set of the imagination and spark stories and wonder.  They have a certain mystique, an aura of legend surrounding them, putting them a near mythological status, if not outright reaching it.  It’s part of that mystery surrounding them that children love.  They love to look at pictures of them, memorize their names, some of ridiculous length and pronunciation that even adults struggle with, and enthusiastically share their knowledge with everyone they meet.

The great thing about dinosaurs is there’s always more to discover and learn.  Who knows how many new species will be discovered this year, each one needing a new name, a name that, one day, a child will stumble across and seemingly never forget.   While we can’t go to a zoo to see living dinosaurs (which, if Jurassic Park is any indicator, would be a bad idea), we have plenty of media dedicated to them.  If you don’t have a museum exhibit handy, books can provide the next best thing in one’s exploration of dinosaurs.  With so many books to choose from, it can become overwhelming, but there are a few absolute gems that both kids and adults can enjoy and undoubtedly learn from.

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

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This extensive encyclopedia by paleontologist Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. may overload even the most ardent dinosaur fans with all the information it packs into its 432 pages.   Published in 2007, this encyclopedia features over 800 species of dinosaurs and rich detail on what we know about each one.  The book is well organized, so readers can find their favorite dinosaurs with ease as well as understand the information that is presented.

Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

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Considered the definitive dinosaur picture book, author and illustrator James Gurney brings his fictional world of dinosaurs to life with highly-detailed and eye-popping images.  The story is told in the form of journal entries written by the main character, Arthur Denison, and may be challenging for younger kids to read, though, regardless, it can become so engrossing it may not matter.  Younger kids may decide to skip the text altogether in favor of simply scanning the illustrations for hours on end, which is perfectly fine, since they’re worth it.  After reading A Land Apart from Time, the sequels, which are considered just as good, or better than the first, come highly recommend.  These books include Dinotopia: The World Beneath, Dinotopia: First Flight, and Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.  There are multiple spin-off novels, but none match the artistry of Gurney’s four books.

The Enormous Egg

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For the younger dinosaur lovers, Oliver Butterworth’s 1956 children’s classic tells the story of a child who discovers a massive egg in the chicken coop.  Spoiler warning: the egg hatches and it’s a dinosaur!   The book mixes a fun narrative with the politics of Washington DC and explores the consequences of having a dinosaur in the modern era that’s both light-hearted and accessible to younger readers.

Raptor Red

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By distinguished paleontologist, Raptor Red is a novel featuring Utahraptors as the protagonists and explores the life of the title character.  Set 120 million years in the past during the Early Cretaceous.  It’s a surprisingly thrilling narrative, which does take liberties, both scientific and to be relatable to readers, and shouldn’t be considered fact-based. At times, this book is akin to watching a particularly exciting nature program on PBS or the National Geographic channel.   For budding fans of Bakker’s work, readers can also check out The Dinosaur Heresies:  New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction, a book that can serve as an informational supplement or follow-up to Raptor Red, but really isn’t aimed at kids.  This 1986 book is Bakker’s theories on a broad range of dino-related topics including their warm-bloodedness, their relation to birds through evolution, and their various physiological traits.

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