Monday, September 12, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Living Fossils: Clues to the Past by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Andrew Plant

I really liked some aspects of this nonfiction picture book, but others weren't quite what I wanted. Which is my explanation for keeping it several weeks overdue *cough*.

The story opens with the discovery of the coelacanth, a "living fossil." Using this strange fish as an example, Arnold explains the concept of living fossils, from an explanation of the basic idea of a fossil to what we can learn from living fossils.

The rest of the book is a comparison of living fossils then and now. Horseshoe crabs, dragonflies, sphenodontids (lizards), chambered nautiloids, and Latonia frogs. The book ends with a timeline and a spread of thumbnails with more details about the creatures mentioned in the book. There is also a glossary and bibliography of further reading.

Each spread about the animals is 3/4 art with a column of text describing what is known about the prehistoric creature, then a similar spread for the modern creature including an extra box on their survival.

So, it's a really interesting concept, the art is great, and it's nicely arranged. Somehow, though, I wanted more contrast in the then and now - more direct explanations of how the creatures changed throughout time. Although, the other side of that is that we don't really know what they were like originally, so maybe that information just doesn't exist?

Verdict: I'm always looking for new fossil books and this is a unique and interesting take. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781580896917; Published 2016 by Charlesbridge; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

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