Firefly Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals: A Comprehensive Look at the Prehistoric World with Hundreds of Superb Illustrations

256p. glossary. illus. index. Firefly. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781770854604.
Gr 5 Up—With the popularity of dinosaurs among young readers, this title should be well positioned to attract an enthusiastic audience. However, the book attempts to combine the density of an academic volume with the browsability of a DK Eyewitness book, falling short on both fronts. The book begins with a focus on "Ancient Worlds," introducing various periods and natural events that have left their mark on Earth and molded the planet we inhabit today. It then moves on to discussions about prehistoric fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, avian dinosaurs (or birds), synapsids (the first animals to show mammal characteristics), mammals, and humans. Most of the animals in this book will not be familiar to readers with only a casual knowledge of the subject. In fact, the term prehistoric becomes blurred at times, particularly during the discussion of birds, several of which became extinct only a few hundred years ago at the hands of humans. The book would have benefited greatly from a guide explaining the methodology used to organize the information. Although a glossary is included, basic terminology isn't sufficiently defined for those not already well versed in the subject. The attractive illustrations, though, bring these long-lost creatures to life and will provide some interest to browsers. But there are too many gaps in the information that will leave layreaders confused.
VERDICT Strictly additional.

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