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Catherine Ripley
Toronto, Greey de Pencier, 1991. 32pp, paper, $9.95
ISBN 0-920775-55-1. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 6/Ages 5 to 11

Reviewed by Peter Croskery.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

Two Dozen Dinosaurs is an interesting book that, with a little better planning, could have been an excellent fun book for children. Subtitled A First Book of Dinosaur Facts, Mysteries, Games and Fun, the book contains the kind of informa­tion that appeals to children rather than the dry academic information most often taught about dinosaurs.

To illustrate how better planning might have enhanced this book, I looked at the "parade of dinosaurs" found on page 4. Had this "parade" of dinosaurs been listed in alphabetical order it would have been a more powerful reference page. When reviewing the book, I found myself continually referring back to this page but becoming increasingly annoyed at having to "search and seek out" the dinosaur I was looking for. Furthermore, I'm not sure how accurate the scale of dinosaur sizes is, but that aspect of dinosaurs could have been more effectively presented on this page. (Apatosaurus is spelled correctly in the parade, but incorrectly on pages 26 and 32.)

The illustrations are bright, colourful and clear but not as supportive of the dinosaur content as they could have been. For me, this is largely a result of the heavy anthropomorphic style of the visuals. When dinosaurs are presented in human costume, it makes the entire animal appear make-believe. Although the illustrator has attempted to make the dinosaur under the costume technically accurate, the bright and funny costume is what catches the eye and the technical detail is lost. Furthermore, if we know the costume is "wrong," how do we know the anatomical detail is any more correct?

A dinosaur rebus story "Tyrannosaurus Tale" is' presented on -pages 16 to 19. This is a fun story but too complex for very young children. My Primary level children with no real background in dinosaur biology couldn't sit through a reading.

Some of the activities are good and should appeal to Junior level children. Of the book's four activities, "An Egg-Citing Discovery," "Lunch Please," 'Travel Back in Time" and "Fossil Find," only two are suitable for young children (Egg-Citing Discovery and Fossil Find). The other two activities require the child having more advanced science skills.

Contrary to the book's subtitle, this is not a good first book on dinosaurs and hence is not recommended as a stand­alone book for teaching about dino­saurs. However, there is enough good stuff in Two Dozen Dinosaurs to comple­ment other dinosaur teaching materials and increase a child's fun at learning.

Peter Croskery, Grimsby, Ont.
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