Today I bring to you my final contribution to the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge for 2016 hosted by Escape with Dollycas – hurrah! This challenge has been great fun and I quite like the fact that I’m finishing up with the first letter of the alphabet. My book today would be a great gift offering for any mini-fleshling that loves dinosaurs but is looking for a change from the popular favourites like T-Rex and Velociraptor. We received Animasaurus: Incredible Animals that Roamed the Earth by Tracey Turner and Harriet Russell from Bloomsbury Australia for review and here’s the blurb from Bloomsbury:
Did you know:
A shark as long as a bus roamed the oceans?
Hamsters with horns once burrowed the Earth?
Giant armadillos grew to the size of a family car?
Find out about the fascinating prehistoric beasts that once walked, swam and hunted across the Earth. Compare these with their closest modern relatives, or other living animals with amazing features.
From cow-sized rodents to furry prehistoric rhinos – packed with beautiful pictures and amazing facts, essential stats and scale diagrams, this is the ultimate guide to prehistoric beasts!
You can probably tell from the bright colours and quirky cartoony illustrations that this ain’t yo’ mama’s nonfiction book about prehistoric fauna. The first thing that drew me to this book was its satisfyingly large hardback format. I immediately took advantage of this by laying the book out flat on a table for optimum perusal. On opening the book, the first thing I appreciated was the fact that the author and illustrator haven’t tried to cram too much text onto each page. I remember as a youngster being mightily put off reading nonfiction books if forced to squint and read tiny, crammed in text or a billion text boxes peppered all around the page spread. Happily, Animasaurus has turned its back on textual overload and kept things eye-relaxingly spread out.
Each double page spread is dedicated to a particular prehistoric creature that you probably haven’t seen gracing the shelves of Jurassic World merchandise. This book has everything from giant crocodile-like creatures to apes that look like Bigfoot to something that looks like a cross between a wolf, tiger and polar bear, to an enormous, vegetarian, donkey-capybara-sloth-looking hybrid thingy. There’s even a gargantuan bird that looks suspiciously like it may have been the inspiration for Sesame Street’s Big Bird character. Clearly, I am not up to speed on my prehistoric fauna, but by golly, this book has piqued my interest in the subject. Along with an artist’s impression of the creature featured on each double page spread, there is also a small box of text showing where in the world it may have lived, its weight, salient features and size, compared to humans.
To give you an idea of the weird and wonderful creatures that you may discover between these pages, here is a Uinta Beast, whose facial protrusions need to be seen to be believed:
And here is my personal favourite: a giant horned hamster:
Just look at his cheeky grin!
The book is divided into sections corralling herbivores, sea creatures , predators and creepy-crawlies with their fellows and the final few pages include a nicely spaced out timeline showing when the creatures lived in comparison to each other, a glossary and index.
I think that this book could be a real winner for engaging young readers who aren’t mad-keen on flesh-ripping dinosaurs in discovery about the prehistoric era and the kinds of creatures that populated the earth during this time. The format makes it easy to flick through, and there isn’t so much text as to turn off reluctant nonfiction readers. Couple this with the bizarre and fascinating creatures inside and you’ve got a recipe for a tome that will be fought over during silent reading time. Alternately, it would make a tantalising Christmas treat that will satisfy long after the batteries on the whiz-bang remote control robot-dinosaur have run out.
Hooray! Alphabet Soup Challenge 2016 finished! If you would like to see all the tomes I tackled for this challenge this year, click here.
Until next time,