Book Review: Dining With Dinosaurs

Dining With Dinosaurs book coverGNSI member Hannah Bonner is adding to her already long list of children’s books (see here for an example) with the upcoming Dining with Dinosaurs, A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching. The book takes you on a tour of who ate who (and what) in the Mesozoic. You will learn all about the ancient food web, from enormous long-neck herbivores to teensy blood-drinking fleas. Along the way, you’ll encounter Spinosaurus on the search for fish, raptors hunting in packs, plants telling you how they eat sunlight, and scientists sharing their knowledge in comic-book style interviews. Get ready to be amused, surprised, and maybe even a bit grossed out when you learn what was on the prehistoric menu.

"In Dining With Dinosaurs, the award-winning author of When Fish Got Feet and When Dinos Dawned serves up a full-course meal of mouthwatering Mesozoic food facts. Travel back in time for a tour of the “vores” of the dinosaur world, from mega carnivores to itty-bitty herbivores and everything in between.”

So reads the dustjacket of GNSI member Hannah Bonner’s newest book, and it’s an apt introduction to this delightful creation. A wonderful mix of fun and scholarship for any middle-to-upper elementary age child (and adults as well!), Dining With Dinosaurs offers up all the science of dinosaur diets in a package of fun and accurate illustrations and great text.

Hannah’s casual, colorful, and lively pencil, watercolor and colored pencil images are very accessible to young readers. At first glance, they appear to be cartoons, but calling them that would be selling them short. I’m no dinosaur expert, but a quick bit of research on the web showed me that Hannah’s fun illustrations are accurate and instructive, and owe far more to her science illustration background than to the Sunday
comic strip.

To me, the special joy of the books is the combination of Hannah’s wonderful art and great text: discussions of complex processes like photosynthesis, decomposition, and the food web are handled with a delightful blend of humor and clarity. Inset panels illustrate discussions with notable scientists who explain specific topics like dinosaur adaptations and how scientists use fossils to help reveal the nature of dinosaurs lifestyles.

Hannah’s humorous drawings and little side jokes lighten the tone of a book that is otherwise heavy on information. Both parents and children should enjoy every page. Any (or all!) of her books would be an excellent addition to an illustrator’s library and prime examples of how to present complex and detailed scientific information in a clear and vibrant, graphic-novel kind of way, to any age group.

The book is intended for ages 7 – 12, and anyone else who likes their science delivered with lots of pictures and a sense of humor. Look for it after September 20, in any online bookstore or at your local bookstore.

Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books | 48 Pages | 8-1/2 x 10-7/8
ISBN 9781426323393


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