Friday, January 17, 2020


So You Think You Know About … Triceratops?
 by Ben Garrod; illus. by Gabrietl Ugueto, Scott Hartman, & Ethan Kocak
112pages; ages 8-12
Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2019

If you thought all dinosaur science was set in stone – ta-da! Scientists are digging up new dino facts every few weeks. So much new science that Dr. Ben Garrod decided each kind of dinosaur deserves its own book about its anatomy, habitats, and behavior. So he’s created a series that explores dinos up-close and personal.

First off, Garrod makes sure readers understand what dinosaurs are, and how they are related. In this book, he talks about how new discoveries can totally revise how scientists think about the dino family tree. And he provides a checklist. Tiny arms? Check. Straight legs? Check.

From there, he dives into the family tree of Triceratops and their relatives. And when they lived (Mesozoic era), and where their fossils have been discovered. Then he does a dino autopsy. Not a real one, because it’s hard to get your hands on a recently-deceased Triceratops. Bone-by-bone, Garrod introduces the skeleton of the dino, with notes on elbows, toes, and how they ran.

Sidebars include “Ask an Expert” and “New Science”, and at the back there’s a fossil finder, answers to the quizzes, and a glossary (the only thing lacking is a pronunciation guide). Other books in the series include Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Velociraptor.

Lifesize Dinosaurs 
by Sophy Henn
32 pages; ages 3-8
Kane Miller Books/EDC Publishing, 2018

Sophy Henn uses her art to show how readers measure up against some of the smallest and largest dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. You’re probably thinking: Riiiight. How can she fit an entire dinosaur onto a page?

Turns out, some dinosaurs were small. Microraptors, for example. From head to tail they easily fit on the diagonal of a full spread. Some dinosaur eggs were small enough to fit on a page. But some dinos were so big that there’s no way to capture the entirety of them on a single page. So Sophy selects their most interesting features. Utahraptors have dagger-sharp curved claws. “Hold your foot up to the page and see how it would look on you!” writes Sophy.

But to compare your smile to the toothy grin of a T-Rex – that requires fold-out pages! Back matter compares dino sizes using the book as the unit of measurement. Which is pretty cool – all you need to do is put a piece of tape on the floor and then flip the book end-over-end 30 times to see how big a T-rex really was. Eighty-three flips for Diplodocus!

Not out yet, but coming soon….

1,000 Facts About Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Prehistoric Life 
by Patricia Daniels
112 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Children’s Books, 2020

This is a wonderfully browsable book filled with collections of facts and fun. If you’re looking for something specific, start with the index or table of contents. If you’re ready for adventure, open at random and see where you end up. It might be a page about skeletons, or facts about prehistoric names. For example, Wakiewakie, a prehistoric Australian marsupial, is said to get its name from a local wake up call. And some fossils have been named after musicians, Star Wars characters, and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Or perhaps you’ll find yourself diving into a page filled with ocean animals, or treated to an entire page of Triceratops facts.

Check out STEM Tuesday blog – where this month’s theme is Dinosaurs. There’s a book list and more.

To find other dinosaur books reviewed here at Archimedes Notebook, just type “dinosaur” into the search bar over to the right. Review copies provided by the publishers.


  1. I just did my STEM story time last week about dinosaurs. Wish I had known about these books. They look like they would have been great additions.

  2. You always find the best books! I want to read all of these. Thanks for telling me about them.