A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth

when dinos dawnedWhen Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, & When Dinos Dawned: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth
by Hannah Bonner
128 pages, ages 8 – 12
National Geographic Kids, 2015

Given all the holidays, I’m hopping over to Monday to post a review of this fun book. This book is for kids who want to take a journey back in time … to when life came out of the seas and onto land. It’s a true story. As author Hanna Bonner says, “I didn’t make up the plot… it was set in stone – the stone of the fossil record.” But since fact is weirder than fiction, this tale includes plenty of bizarre plants and animals, dancing continents, and lots of fun cartoons. (well, OK, the cartoons aren’t part of the fossil record.)

Way back, when Pennsylvania was covered by a shallow sea (430 million years ago plus-or-minus), there was a lot of life in that water: trilobites and coral, brachiopods that looked like clams but aren’t related, and crinoids that look like flowers but aren’t. There were also eurypterids – extinct relatives of scorpions, some reaching more than six feet in length. And there were bony fish that looked like armored tanks.

Bonner shows what it took for fish to become land animals, how bugs got their wings, and the beginning of dinosaurs. Back matter includes a timeline of life on earth, a vertebrate “family tree” and lots of activities for curious kids including a few on climate change and extinction. And, for parents – a dictionary of “how to pronounce the Scientific terms in the book” – because kids seem to have no problem with words like Eudimorphodon and Herrerasurus rolling off their tongues.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

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