Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?
by Catherine Thimmesh is a middle grade book that celebrates paleoartists as much as dinosaurs.
Why is no illustrator given on the cover when the book is full of illustrations? Instead of a single illustrator, it features the art of the likes of Tyler Keillor, Mark Hallett, John Sibbick, Greg Paul, and Stephen and Sylvia Czerkas. Almost every page introduces the reader to a new paleoartist and discusses the challenges of creating realistic and scientifically accurate images of animals from dusty fossils. The results are sometimes breathtaking.
Thimmesh sprinkles the text with well-chosen quotes from the artists, building step-by-step how the artists choose to portray certain features and how new discoveries add to their knowledge. One of the biggest mysteries remains what colors the dinosaurs were, but there’s hints that new technology and analysis techniques may yield some answers in the future. For example, once we understand more about how the genetic code works, it is likely we can read more accurately what dinosaurs might have looked like.
Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled would be a great choice for budding artists, particularly those interested in scientific illustration. It may be for middle grade readers, but younger children obsessed with dinosaurs will want you to read it to them as well. Basically it is a thrilling combination of science and art, well worth a space on the shelf.
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)
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