Book review: 50 Dinosaur Tales

50 Dinosaur Tales

Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I Know Dino is a weekly podcast – hosted by Garret Kruger and Sabrina Ricci – which features dinosaur-related news items, interviews, and facts on the ‘dinosaur of the day’. Sabrina has written several books on dinosaurs, the most recent of which is 50 Dinosaur Tales, to be released later this year.

50 Dinosaur Tales consists of a series of fact profiles for new dinosaurs – most of which have also been mentioned on the podcast – described between 2014 and 2018; you can learn what their scientific names mean, when and where they were found, and anything especially noteworthy about their remains. Fifty of these dinosaurs are given short stories depicting them in their natural environment, going about their everyday business, whether it be foraging, hunting, socialising, escaping a predator, or looking for a mate; each story is followed by the dinosaur’s fact profile to provide context.

These stories are a very effective way of helping the reader appreciate and remember the dinosaurs being described; I think children will particularly like them. They give a satisfactory idea of what each dinosaur looks like (though most of them have an accompanying image as well), and the scenarios taking place are varied enough that the stories never feel repetitive. They neatly incorporate what evidence is available from the fossils, as specified in the fact profiles: say, if a dinosaur bone was found bearing signs of injury, the dinosaur will be shown sustaining a corresponding injury in the story. Some parts I particularly liked involved different species of dinosaur interacting with each other in ways other than predation, which adds more dimension and is something that can easily get left out of writing like this: for example, a Heterodontosaurus watching a feeding Ledumahadi in the hopes that the larger dinosaur will dislodge some tree leaves for it. One thing I wasn’t so sure about was the minor anthropomorphising in some of the stories, such as a dinosaur feeling “amused”, which takes away some of the realism.

Also, not every fact profile has a story associated with it; each of the geographically-organised story sections of the book is followed by a collection of alphabetical profiles covering dinosaurs from the same continent. Naturally, these sections don’t grab the reader’s attention in the same way as the stories. They still provide interesting information, however, and an opportunity for dinosaur buffs to get up to date with more recent discoveries. With these species not having had much time to appear in other sources yet, 50 Dinosaur Tales is likely to provide fresh knowledge to a reader of any age who is interested in the subject.

50 Dinosaur Tales will be launched on 8th October 2019 – and in the meantime, check out the I Know Dino podcast!

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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