By Dr. Robert T. Bakker, Illustrated by Luis V. Rey
Golden Books, 32 pages, $16.99
Many current paleontologists had as children the 1960 book Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles. But human understanding of the lives of dinosaurs has changed dramatically over the last half-century. The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs is essentially a remake, intended to update young readers on the science of dinosaur paleontology. From swamp-dwelling to self-supporting sauropods and tail-dragging to feathered theropods, this book covers the entire span of dinosaur time, from the rise of dinosaurs from their reptilian ancestors over 200 million years ago to their extinction 65 million years ago. Toward the end of the book, a tree of life shows where dinosaurs and humans both fit in the evolution of life, stressing that without the demise of dinosaurs, humans would not have evolved.
Pterosaurs and sea-going reptiles are included, too, as well as a section on the history of the discovery of dinosaurs and changes in the field over the last two centuries. Robert Bakker’s text is active and appropriate for a younger audience, and Luis Rey’s artwork, a combination of traditional paintings and digital illustration, is vibrant, action-packed, and wonderfully brings to life these exciting and mysterious creatures. The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs is highly recommended not only for younger readers, but adults as well.
Reviewed by Michael Barton