By Sarah L. Thomson, Illustrated by Andrew Plant
Charlesbridge Press, 32 pages, $12.95
Terror Bird by Sarah L. Thomson is part of the Ancient Animals collection. The book identifies a bird from the age of dinosaurs. This flightless bird from South America is unique in that it was a top predator that hunted large animals, did not fly, and ran at break-necking speeds. Thomson explains why the terror bird, which ate sick, weak, and plant-eating animals, helped strong animals survive and not over-eat the vegetation. Eventually, the terror bird died out and left behind ancestor flightless birds.
Terror Bird offers children a simple breakdown on this single animal. Readers will quickly learn about the prehistoric era, other animals, the life cycle of animals, and the new challenges land transformations and climate shifts brought to these dinosaurs.
The illustrations are graphic, detailed, and scientifically accurate. They bring more information to the copy on each page. The images are from Andrew Plan, a trained zoologist who has studied paleontology deeply. Some images – including graphic illustrations of the terror bird devouring its prey – may be unsuitable for some children.
Reviewed by Sophie Sestero