________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 13 . . . . February 22, 2008

cover

Creatures Yesterday and Today.

Karen Patkau.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $22.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-833-0.

Subject Headings:
Evolution (Biology)-Juvenile literature.
Phylogeny-Juvenile literature.
Animals-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***1/2 /4

excerpts:

Dunkleosteus
A ferocious carnivore, I scoured the ocean for a tasty meal. My jaws were like huge scissors, with sharp jagged edges. Bony armor covered my head and neck.

Sergeant Major
Above a bright coral garden, I swim with my school. My air bladder keeps me afloat, while my gills filter oxygen from the water. Like you, I have a bony skeleton inside me.


In what is touted as a companion book to Creatures Great and Small, author and illustrator Karen Patkau presents prehistoric creatures and their current day counterparts on colourful double-page spreads. The animals are representative of all groups- birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, insects, arachnids, mollusks, crustaceans and sea jellies. Almost all of the prehistoric creatures are lesser known than the typical t-rex and brontosaurus so familiar to children. Instead, Patkau features cameroceras, hylonomus, brontoscorpio and phorusrhacos, to name just a few, and she links them across the ages to (in most cases) a much smaller animal living on Earth today. Her facts are gleaned from scientific research done by experts in the field.

internal art

     A single three or four-sentence paragraph is devoted to each animal, the text written in the first person so that readers "hear the voice" of the animal. Even though the information given is very brief, it provides readers with a "snapshot" of the main characteristics of that particular animal. The text's simple font and short descriptions are deliberate - readers will concentrate more, and for a longer period of time, on the fantastic illustrations.

     Vibrant colors (greens, blues, purples and vivid yellows and pinks) characterize these very simple, yet, at once, subtly detailed illustrations. Through her use of light and shadow, Patkau creates depth in her paintings, causing the eye to move across each one. A map of the world on the end papers indicates the location of each featured animal, while a geological time line shows when the various creatures lived on Earth. Included at the back of the book is a glossary.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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