Over 200 million years ago, Dinosaurs dominated our planet. Beginning in the early 1800s, scientists began studying bones and fossils of these now famous creatures. It was Sir Richard Owen, a British paleontologist, who created the term “dinosaur” in 1842. Today, paleontologists have identified over 700 different species of dinosaurs.

This diverse group of prehistoric reptiles lived from the Triassic period (approximately 230 million years ago) until their extinction in the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago). Though they lived hundreds of millions of years ago, children and adults are still fascinated with these remarkable creatures-and their modern day descendants: birds and crocodiles.

The titles below highlight recent books about dinosaurs. Our list includes fiction and nonfiction, and ranges in age between toddlers and middle school readers. Search CLCD for further results; and remember that an easy way to focus your results is to narrow them by age and/or selecting fiction or nonfiction.

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Contributed by Nancy Hopeck and the Kids from Goodwin Community Center

Dinosaur Dental Discoveries

Contributor: Emily Griffin


100 Things You Should Know About Prehistoric Life
Rupert Matthews

The promised 100 bits of information are presented here in chronological order from “Life Begins” at about 3,000 million years ago to “The First Humans” for our last few things to know. In between, information is presented on the evolution of plant life, early wormlike animals, animals’ transition to land based creatures and, of course, plenty of information about the dinosaurs. Scattered throughout are short quizzes and a few quick craft projects, which are more play than learning focused. The last half of the book throws in some unnumbered trivia-type bits of information; “The tusks of the Anancus were over thirteen feet long–almost as long as the animal itself.” Illustrations are eye-catching islands of color on a background that includes plenty of white space. The easy browsing format makes this book appealing to reluctant readers, as well as animal lovers and trivia hounds. Included are a table of contents and an index. This is an excellent addition to all libraries. 2011, Mason Crest, Ages 5 to 12, $19.95. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781422220030

Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure
Eileen Campbell
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision

Charlie is doing a report on the kiwi for an assignment on birds but he is stumped as to how to make it interesting. That night the little stuffed kiwi becomes real and takes Charlie on a fantastic journey back in time. There he meets his five times great grandfather (who just happens to be Charles Darwin) and begins to learn of the evolution of his extraordinary bird. To understand it all better, Charlie and Grandpa Charles travel back two more times until they arrive in the time of the dinosaurs. There Grandpa explains the kiwi gradually added feathers and wings and took flight. Of course this took millions of years. After zooming home, Charlie presents his report to his rapt classmates, and having a fossil from Grandpa Charles is a bonus. The complex topic of evolution is presented in small chunks in a readable and comprehendible manner for young readers. Cartoon watercolors are engaging and the time travel aspect is a nice hook. Boys who love all things dinosaurs and teachers looking for a simple explanation for a difficult subject are a sure audience for this one. 2011, Atheneum, Ages 7 to 10, $16.99. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781442421127

Deb Lund
Illustrated by Howard Fine

Lund combines two favorite themes–dinosaurs and sailing–with rollicking rhymes for a jolly voyage, hoisting “dinosails.” Hitting a squall, however, after eating, the “dinodiners” lose it spectacularly over the side, on a double page with no text needed. Left with wobbly “dinoknees,” they don their “dinojammies,” brush, floss, and go to bed. They decide they would rather “dinostroll than float.” But soon adventure calls them again, and the “dinotravelers” are off again, this time as “Dinotrainers.” Fine’s double-page gouache-and-watercolor paintings are naturally crowded with the antics of the six different dinosaurs. The difference between the picture book and the board book version is that the smaller format cannot accommodate thedinosaurs who were introduced by name, crew position and portrait on the end-papers of the original book. It’s a bit of fun making the Tyrannosaurus Rex a cabin boy. But seasickness clearly makes them equal sufferers, all broadly envisioned for a comic effect. A great read-aloud for language play and an easy transition from picture to board book format. 2011 (orig. 2003), Harcourt Children’s Books, Ages 3 to 7, $7.99. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780547554174

Kathleen W. Zoehfeld

Since dinosaurs are extinct, readers learn that our knowledge about these creatures comes from fossils that paleontologists have discovered. While the bones give an idea of the animals’ size and structure, they do not tell us anything about their skin or coloration. Fossils have been found that do show skin patterns which include scales and feathers. There is a spread that names and phonetically spells out the names of half a dozen of the more well-known dinosaurs. Then there is a presentation of the biggest, a description of how dinosaurs walked, held their necks, what they ate and a description of the teeth associated with herbivores versus the carnivores. Kids will probably find this section fascinating especially seeing the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth. For those who may have wondered about woolly mammoths, they were not dinosaurs, however the text is unequivocal in stating that chickens are livingdinosaurs. That may be a bit of a revelation to some readers. The layout uses excellent photographs and has dinosaurs running across the top of every page; a bit busy but still appealing. There are jokes interspersed throughout and most are puns. A good start for those fascinated by big these large extinct animals. A Level 1 book in the “National Geographic Readers” series targeted to kids who are starting to read. 2011, National Geographic, Ages 5 to 7, $3.99. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781426307751

Dinosaur Discovery: Everything You Need To Be a Paleontologist
Chris McGowan
Illustrated by Erica Lyn Schmidt

Not just another book about dinosaurs! This large, elegantly illustrated book includes greater details about the anatomy and physiology of familiar (and some less familiar) Jurassic species than most publications for this age group. That can help teachers and students make the leap from wonder to real lessons about structure and function in living things. The book also includes actual activities and experiments to allow students to do more than just memorize facts about dinosaurs. The strength of their bones and the structure of their feathers are subjects for student investigation. Large, detailed pictures, inset diagrams, and informational boxes are all featured in the book’s modern graphic layouts. That makes this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book a good one for a classroom center or individual reading. A good glossary and thorough index make it suitable for research as well. 2011, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Ages 8 to 11, $17.99. Reviewer: CBC Reviewer (National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)).

ISBN: 9781416947646

Dinosaur vs. the Library
Bob Shea

This is Shea’s latest addition to the adventures of his bright red cartoon allosaurus who behaves remarkably like a preschooler who is still working on self-regulation. In this case Dinosaur successfully roars his way to the library, winning out over a cow, baby chicks, a turtle and an owl. But once he gets to the library, it is clear–he has to use his inside voice and not roar while the story is read. Dinosaur manages to stifle his roars and reaps the reward of a good story. Shea’s exuberant sketches and the playful way all those roars bounce around the pages in different fonts are likely to draw the read-aloud crowd in. “Roar” is likely to quickly enter into their sight word vocabulary. At the same time, as they return to this book again and again, even the wildest preschooler is likely to get the idea that it can be worth it to contain oneself in order to get a pleasurable experience like story hour. 2011, Disney/Hyperion, Ages 3 to 6, $15.99. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781423133384

Dinosaur Mardi Gras
Dianne de Las Casas
Illustrated by Marita Gentry

Although dinosaurs are long extinct, it is often fun to imagine what life would be like if they existed in the present. De Las Casas puts together a tale of fun-loving dinosaurs parading down the streets of New Orleans during the special time of year known as Mardi Gras. The dinosaurs toss beads, ride on parade floats, play instruments, and have a fun time partaking in all the activities synonymous with Mardi Gras. De Las Casas points out key downtown New Orleans locales while also introducing various types of dinosaurs along the way. The book has a catchy sing-song rhythm that makes for an engaging read. The final pages include a little further background on Mardi Gras, as well as New Orleans, which is very helpful especially if one is not familiar with the subject matter. The book also contains a fun hands-on project with easy to follow instructions on how to build a shoe box float. Gentry’s watercolor illustrations add a nice soft and colorful touch to the roughness often associated with dinosaurs. 2012, Pelican Publishing Company, Ages 4 to 8, $16.99. Reviewer: Jayme Derbyshire (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781589809666

Dinosaur Pet
Neil Sedaka and Marc Sedaka
Illustrated by Tim Bowers

What happens to a dinosaur pet when it hatches from its egg and grows? Set to the tune of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield’s “Calendar Girls,” Neil’s son Marc Sedaka has written a witty and entertaining song following the growth of a boy’s dinosaur pet. Each month of the year, the boy notes something new that is changing as his dinosaur grows. Just like its inspirational song, the book continues to remind readers that the boy loves, loves, loves his dinosaur pet. Readers and listeners of all ages will love listening to the accompanying CD while turning the pages, and even singing and dancing along! The witty rhymes and brightly colored illustrations are sure to entertain, as well as reinforce the names and order of the months of the year. The CD on the inside of the back cover includes three original songs performed by Neil Sedaka-“Dinosaur Pet,” “The Tooth Fairy,” and “She Moved Away.” 2012, Imagine Publishing/Charlesbridge, Ages 4 to 7, $17.95. Reviewer: Anne Pechnyo (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781936140367

First Big Book of Dinosaurs
Catherine D. Hughes
Illustrated by Franco Tempesta

This is it: a dinofest for little kids with lots of creatures and just the right amount of consistent, clearly presented information on each one. The animals are ordered by size-small, medium, giant, and gigantic-and each gets a double-page spread with name, identifying feature or trait, a couple of short paragraphs of description, a fact box comprising period, food, and size (animal and man silhouetted to show comparative size), pronunciation, a couple of boxed facts, and a question to invite further thought: “Its [Therizinosaurus’] big claws would have been handy for digging in the ground to find insects. Have you ever tried digging in the dirt to find an earthworm?” Pre-readers who can’t round up a willing adult reader will be more than satisfied browsing the full-page painting Tempesta provides for each entry. End material includes some tips for parents to extend the reading experience, a world map with lists of dinosaurs color-coded to the continents, a glossary, and an index. An obvious choice for young library patrons, this title will also be a winner of a holiday gift. 2011, National Geographic, Ages 3 to 7, $21.90 and $14.95. Reviewer: Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, December 2011 (Vol. 65, No. 4)).

ISBN: 9781426308468

How Do We Know about Dinosaurs?: A Fossil Mystery
Rebecca Olien
Illustrated by Katie McDee

A catchy introduction in this book from the “First Graphics” series grabs kids’ attention and gets them to think about how we know about these creatures that lived millions of years before people. Like other books in the series, this one strives to give answers to simple questions kids might have. By putting graphic pictures and text together readers will learn about dinosaurs, their fossils, and whether we might find fossils today. Each right hand page in a spread asks a question to lead to the answer that follows. Topics of interest include facts about sharp and dulldinosaur teeth, dinosaur droppings and footprints, and what is learned when fossils are put together. End matter consists of a glossary, index, and book and Internet resources. All books in the series make excellent supplements to science lessons and are related to many common core curriculum goals. They are especially attractive to reluctant and emerging readers because the text is simple and the colorful illustrations offer clues to what is written. 2012, Capstone/Capstone Press, Ages 5 to 8, $22.65. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781429660952

How the Dinosaur Got To the Museum
Jessie Hartland

How did the skeleton of a Diplodocus make its way from an old river bed in Utah to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History? Hartland, author of How Did the Sphinx Get to the Museum?, engagingly explains the process. She shows how the dinosaur’s bones were buried over time and then exposed and discovered by a dinosaur hunter. A paleontologist confirms the find and excavators carefully remove the bones. Movers transport them and preparators at the museum then assemble them, aided by paleontologists. Others have a role too: welders, riggers, the exhibits team, cleaners, and even a clumsy night watchman. A special sign and font identify each person or group of people involved (for instance, “paleontologist” is in the shape of a bone) and each double-page spread adds a name to the repeated list. The faux-naif, softly colored illustrations help make the process clear and fascinating. At the end, the author supplies “A Little Bit of Dino Info” that covers what a fossil is, tells about the Diplodocus, and offers background information on some of the real people involved, along with a couple of websites about dinosaur digs. This attractive behind-the-scenes look at a museum will intrigue dinosaur fans and any curious young museum-goer, too. 2011, Blue Apple Books, Ages 4 to 8, $17.99. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781609050900

I’m Sure I Saw a Dinosaur
Jeanne Willis
Illustrated Adrian Reynolds

One foggy, groggy morning / by the salty splashy seaâ?¦ / I’m sure I saw a dinosaur / and I’m sure that he saw me.” Our young narrator tells this exciting story, which soon spreads through his town. Everyone runs down to the beach, including the newsmen and the navy, army, and air force, with every sort of equipment and weapons imaginable. There they sit, from morning into night waiting in the cold. Our clever narrator notes that his father is the ice cream man, and he doesn’t sell much in the winter. But now, as everyone waits, he sells out all he has. Did the boy really see a dinosaur? “Come and buy an ice creamâ?¦ / â?¦and perhaps you’ll see one too!” Crowds of townsfolk bundling up in winter clothes, standing and staring, fill the double pages. Then the others arrive in uniforms and boots to add visual excitement. Comic book-style naturalism in the illustrations sustains the mystery until, on the final pages, we realize how the young narrator has set it all up. The childlike crayon drawings of dinosaurs on the end pages give a hint to the tale within. 2001, Andersen Press USA/Lerner Publishing, Ages 4 to 8, $16.95. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780761380931

Gerry Bailey
Illustrated by Gabe McIntosh

With enticing text, the author paints a tale of an herbivore, a Parasaurolophus, separated from its herd and seeking to stay clear of danger. It is chased from the forest by meat-eating Albertosaurus and barely escapes with its life. Facts are mingled with words of the chase, and allow readers to get a picture of what the life of this unusual dinosaur may have been like. Fantastic illustrations add to the text and make comprehension easy. A few sentences per page contain many short words to keep the reader engaged with the tale. Vivid description gives a clear picture of the appearance of a Parasaurolophus. This book from the “Smithsonian Prehistoric Zone” series contains an intro page that aptly allows readers to see where this dinosaur fit into the Mesozoic Era. In addition, one of the end spreads reiterates and adds to facts already presented. Another end spread features different duck-billed dinosaurs and a third spread discusses the use of the crest on a Parasaurolophus. New words are highlighted in the main body and well-defined in the glossary. An extensive index and various resources are also included. This book makes an excellent supplement for dinosaur science units as well as just a good read for curious students. 2011, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 5 to 10, $22.60 and $8.95. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780778717997

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Kate Riggs

Any reader fascinated with anthropology, dinosaurs, or fascinated with just how large a dinosaur might be will enjoy this title, Tyrannosaurus Rex, in the “When Dinosaurs Lived” series. While the series appears to be coffee table nonfiction, given their lean toward stunning visuals and slim information, the facts that are shared will be interesting to the young reader. I do not agree that the reading level is grade one and up, however, for even a younger readers who crave information such as what scientist named the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that the name refers to a tyrant king lizard that lived some 65 million years ago answers will be found it this book (but many will most likely already know it by its nick name: T-Rex). There is a great display of facts for this scary dinosaur: sixty sharp teeth, huge head with legs as tall as two grown-ups. This title also shares how fast it chased its prey, how very much it weighs, and how teeny tiny its arms really where, with some discussion as to why. Particularly interesting is the discussion as to how much this creature had to eat to stay healthy and strong. Also included are web site links and A Virtual Field Trip. 2012, Creative Education, Ages 6 to 10, $17.95. Reviewer: Jodell Sadler (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781608181209

Tyrannosaurus Rex: Mighty Meat-Eater
Sheila Hammer
Illustrated by Jason Dove

The Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur was the largest of the dinosaurs and a ferocious meat-eater. The T-Rex was strong and liked to chase down its prey. The other dinosaurs and animals were afraid of the T-Rex. A giant meteorite crash into Earth may be responsible for their extinction. Fossils found by scientists have given researchers the opportunity to study this animal and figure out how they lived. Dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and scientists are still learning new things every day about these prehistoric creatures. This book is part of the “First Graphics” series, which introduces new readers to dinosaurs through graphic books. Hammer teaches readers about the T-Rex dinosaur by storytelling with facts. Dove’s graphic illustrations are bright and informative. A book list for additional reading and a glossary provide the readers with more information about this dinosaur. Readers will enjoy getting to know the T-Rex, and the Age of the Dinosaurs. 2012, Capstone Press, Ages 6 to 8, $23.32. Reviewer: Patricia Wooster (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781429676021

The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: a Prehistoric Tale
Cheryl Bardoe
Illustrated by Doug Kennedy

This adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale depicts a Tyrannosaurus Rex as the “ugly duckling.” Born among a family of ducks, the dinosaur is confused about his identity and why he does not look like the ducklings that are his siblings. The mother duck is loving and supportive, despite the dinosaur’s obvious differences from her offspring. In the swamp, he tries to make friends with the non-ducks, only to be rejected by them as well. Even other species of dinosaurs he encounters on land reject him. It is not until he meets a mother Tyrannosaurus Rex that he experiences a sense of belonging and attachment. Once the mother adopts him into her family of young dinosaurs, he is “a duckling no more.” Bold, cartoon-like illustrations will capture young readers’ attention, and the eager expressions with which the dinosaur approaches new friends make him a likeable character. At the end of the book, the Author’s Note contains reference material on the dinosaurs and plants in the story, including a bibliography and suggestions for further reading. Like Andersen’s tale, this story brings up some interesting questions. How do we define and recognize beauty? Should we identify ourselves primarily with people who look like us? This book could spark significant discussions with young readers about beauty and diversity. 2011, Abrams Books, Ages 4 to 8, $16.95. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780810997394

Updated 8/1/12

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