Tag Archives: dinosaurs

This week’s book talks 2/11-15

15 Feb

This week I continued sharing ARCs.

Monday

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

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Tuesday

Cretaceous by Tadd Galusha

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Wednesday

Tooth & Claw: The Dinosaur Wars by Deborah Noyes

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Thursday

Ghost Hog by Joey Weiser

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Friday

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

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A new twist on old ideas

28 May

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Have you ever wondered where myths and legends come from? I don;t just mean where in the world, I mean, how the people who told stories about griffins and cyclops got the ideas in the first place. Adrienne Mayor has turned such musings into a career.

In The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor  Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science by Marc Aronson, we get a picture of a dreamy young girl in South Dakota who spent a decade poring over old maps, hunting through myths, and following the work of dinosaur hunters to solve the mystery of the origin of the griffin and create a new science.

This might sound like a story as dry as the deserts of ancient Scythia, but it is not. Aronson unfolds the story like a mystery, complete with dead ends and a likable heroine. We travel from South Dakota to Greece, China and Mongolia. We read of griffins and cyclops and Indiana Jones.

Lovers of dinosaurs, mythology,and real life  adventure stories will find this book fascinating. Backmatter includes maps, a glossary,  and a bibliography.

I highly recommend this excellent book. I believe it is in the running for a 2015 Sibert Award.

Prehistoric Fantasy

13 Jan

Sometimes, strange and surprising things are buried in your own backyard! This is the Tualatin Mastodon.

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It lives in the Tualatin Library, just south of Portland. You can read a little bit about it here.

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In the 2013 wordless book Fossil, by Bill Thomson,  a boy and his dog are taking a walk and discover that strange and surprising things are buried in their own backyard. When a stone the boy picks up breaks open to reveal a fossil from a prehistoric plant, the boy gathers as many stones as he can find and begins breaking them apart. What he finds is that each fossil carries with it a little magic too. The gorgeous and detailed illustrations are sure to trigger the readers’s imagination.

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And the story you create, can change with each reading. A great book for lovers of fossils and dinosaurs.

Evolving ideas about dinosaurs

13 Nov

When I was the librarian, the dinosaur section was always a mess. The kids couldn’t get enough of the books. Some were checked out multiple times a year by the same kids. Some were repaired until they had to be retired. If I were still there, I’d add this book to the section:

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In case you can’t read the tiny font, the subtitle is How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?.

Sibert medalist Catherine Thimmesh takes not simply onto the world of dinosaurs, but into the world of scientists and how paleoartists use scientific processes to bring us face to face with the past.

Have you ever wondered what an artist does when asked to portray something that nobody has ever seen?It is  a combination of science and educated guesses followed up by corrections as new knowledge becomes available. The author gives a brief history of dinosaur art starting with the work of B.W. Hawkins up to the present day. The artwork included in the book is amazing and comes from the either historical artists or the artists that the author interviewed for the book. Endpapers provide a timeline of the Mesozoic Era and dinosaur groups. Material in the back  gives information on each of the different artists and their knowledge and experiences.It also includes a glossary, bibliography and index.

T. rex for two

1 Aug

Running my Read Aloud Book Club for teachers last year has me on the lookout for picture books that pair up nicely with chapter books. Sometimes it’s  no brainer. Sometimes you have to stretch your brain  little. This pair is a no brainer.

Today we have a picture book and a graphic novel: Tea Rex  by Molly Idle and Tommysaurus Rex  by Doug TenNapel.

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Tea Rex is how to book for people who would like to invite a T. rex to tea. Beginning with a formal invitation to tea, the text gives straightforward directions on how one might host a tea party. The illustrations point out the potential pitfalls if one’s guest were T.rex. The play  between the words and pictures makes this  fun read.

Tommysaurus Rex tells the story of a Ely’s adventures on his grandfather’s farm, where he encounters a T. rex who becomes his pet, Tommy, named for the dog he recently lost. Or, is it a reincarnation of his dog? Ely works with Tommy so he is not a nuisance to the town. Unfortunately, Randy, the town bully, threatens to ruin everything when he uses fire to frighten the T. Rex which causes him to set off on a destructive streak. The beautiful ending is all about forgiveness and redemption.

Both books offer the possibility of some fun writing assignments around T. rex, or any other dinosaur whose name can be manipulated.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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