Review also includes:
So You Think You Know About… Tyrannosaurus Rex?, 978-1788544399
So You Think You Know About… Triceratops?, 978-1788544412
‘So You Think You Know About… Dinosaurs?’ is a new, collectable non-fiction series for children. It is written by television’s Ben Garrod, whose knowledge and enthusiasm for dinosaurs is both impressive and infectious. He combines clear and simple diagrams with conversational yet informative prose and invites dinosaur fans to dig a little deeper, beyond merely the most famous of dino-facts.
In So You Think You Know About… Diplodocus?, Garrod introduces the book by describing how finding worms in his back garden with his granddad inspired him to get into science, and young science fans will certainly be interested by the idea that making the most of the science all around them (collecting minibeasts, finding fossils, gazing at meteor showers) can eventually lead to a career talking about dinosaurs on TV.
Eventually, the book delves into some seriously scientific Diplodocus detail. A range of familiar and fun techniques are used to help young readers understand what are extremely complicated subjects. Cartoons bring to life possible battles between a Diplodocus and an Allosaurus, and the important question of whether or not a chicken is a dinosaur (!) is explored through a conversation with a teacher.
Despite these efforts to make the subject matter accessible, there is no denying that this book will take most readers far beyond what they already know about the Diplodocus. Did you know that the Diplodocus is just one member of a group of diplodocinae, from the family of sauropods? Or that they walked the earth during the jurassic period, millions of years before the arrival of Tyrannosaurus Rex?
There will be some readers for whom the depth and complexity of information on offer in this book is a little beyond what they might expect from the colourful, playful cover. However, most children will love the opportunity to show off lots of new knowledge. After all, there is no limit to how geeky one can get about dinsoaurs!
In So You Think You Know About… Triceratops?, the famous three-horned herbivore takes centre stage and offers plenty of surprises. For most readers, the first surprise will be that there were, in fact, lots of ceratopsid dinosaurs, all of whom shared the Triceratops’ long triangular frills and horns. Classifying dinosaurs is clearly a complicated science, and Garrod uses drawings and labels to make things easier, but he knows that children aren’t afraid of long words, and doesn’t shy away from complex, scientific vocabulary.
Once the Triceratops’ place in the dino-family tree is clear, readers are given an in -depth look into where and when they lived, what their skull was really like, and how they would fare in a fight with a huge sawfish. Though the book is separated into standard chapters, there is variety within each, including conversations with experts, checklists and quizzes, as well as a comprehensive glossary. The result is that readers have both a useful reference book and an enjoyable chapter book that can be read from start to finish.
As well as delivering fun facts to remember, Garrod also helps readers to realise that paleontology requires guesswork and hypothesising. There are a plethora of dinosaur books on the market, of all shapes and sizes, but this new series may have the necessary ingredients to stand out. It is very collectable, with many more dinosaurs yet to be covered, and sticks to a formula without becoming too predictable. It is also eye-catching, with plenty of diagrams and illustrations, and children will enjoy it as a book to share with one another.