Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Really Looked Like? Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-14 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 11 user ratings

"After having read paragraphs repeatedly, I can say, as someone who would not be categorized as a dinosaur fan, Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled written by Catherine Thimmesh is a fantastic piece of nonfiction. Readers will feel the urge to get digging or at the very least to start researching, then sketching. The opening endpapers highlight the Mesozoic era and the closing endpapers feature three major dinosaur groups. At the conclusion of the work content is provided about each of the artists. A selected list of sources, glossary and index is included.

My full review:
" said.

"I've been looking for more great readable nonfiction authors for my classroom and I'm so glad I found Catherine Thimmesh in the GR listopia.

This book explores a topic I have always wondered about. How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like? How much is just guess-work?

The author organizes the work by topic: scales, tails, skulls, color, feathers, etc and lands heavily on interviews with several major paleoartists (a new word for me). There comments are helpful and I really enjoyed how their drawings had informative captions, exclaiming the research used to make each image. It was especially fascinating to see how our views of dinosaurs have changed as we've learned more about them over time.
" said.

"Since dinosaurs couldn't take selfies, the artists who depict them have to figure out what they might have looked like in other ways. This book describes many of them, and shows a large variety of representations new and old.

I love all these wonderful illustrated science books coming out these days. This one explains the process very clearly, and the illustrations are well-connected to the text. There are a few sidebars, but they mostly don't interrupt the flow of the text. I do wish that the authors had considered digital artists as well as graphic artists, since most kids would probably be more interested in photo-like representations rather than natural-history-museum-like paintings, but maybe that's for another book.
" said.

"It's hard to find a young child who is not fascinated by dinosaurs, and even those who've outgrown an obsession hold a tender spot in their hearts for that first love. This comprehensive analysis of some of the latest scientific information on dinosaurs (2013) also provides clear analysis of how discoveries/corrections continue to be developed in this field.
The relatively dense and challenging text provides excellent content for applying close reading, including scientific drawings, timelines, back matter, and diagrams. Despite all that, even the youngest dino-lovers will be fascinated by the illustrations and can gain ground in understanding if this is shared as a read-aloud.
Author Catherine THimmesh is a Sibert Medalist and this offering matches or exceed previous work, IMO.
" said.

"What a fascinating read! I've long wondered exactly what an artist does when asked to portray something that nobody has ever seen. This book beautifully explains the ideas and strategies that paleoartists use to depict dinosaurs. As I've long thought, it's a combination of science and educated guesses followed up by corrections as new knowledge becomes available. The author gives a brief history of dinosaur art starting with the work of B.W. Hawkins up to the present day. The artwork included in the book is amazing and comes from the either historical artists or the artists that the author interviewed for the book. I also appreciated the information on each of the different artists and their knowledge and experiences. A fascinating book for those who are fascinated by dinosaurs or by art or both." said.

"The topic brought this up to three stars. Because what a cool topic! How DO we know what dinosaurs looked like? In pictures, models, and more, artists take what information is available and then fill in the rest with science! However, I found the text to be...overwhelming? too detailed? more than needed? It got to the point where I started to skim because I wanted the concepts on a more basic level, probably because it's about dinosaurs and the kids who come to my library looking for dinosaur books are younger than this book is targeting. I'd give this to 3rd grade and over, but those kids looking for dinosaur books are usually under 1st grade. So a totally interesting topic, but not sure how well this will do in my library as it seems to be written for older kids.

Recommendation level: Meh, but really cool ideas. Grades 3 and up.
" said.

"What did dinosaurs really look like? Here, paleoartists take readers through their research and how that helps them decide how to realistically recreate pictures of dinosaurs.

From skeletal framework to scales and feathers to the biggest speculation artists still make, color, this book gives readers much to think about regarding the illustrations of dinosaurs they've viewed.

I could not put this book down. Many big name paleoartists are featured in this book with very informative/thought-provoking quotes. Artwork included allows readers to see how artists made changes based on new evidence and how the same dinosaur looks different depending on the hand depicting it. Back matter includes: bios about the artists, selected sources, a glossary, and an index.

Highly recommended for grades 5-8.
" said.

"I'm wavering between a 4 and a 5 on this one. The writing and illustrations have great appeal, and I found myself mesmerized as I read this informative text. Anyone interested in dinosaurs--no matter how old he/she might be--will be fascinated by this title. Accompanied by colorful illustrations from paleoartists who rely on fossils and accompanying evidence to flesh out what dinosaurs might have looked like, the text describes how today's scientists and artists have revised early notions of what dinosaurs looked like. While much of their work is still only conjecture, it is closer to what the truth might have been than the first renditions of dinosaurs. Most intriguingly, the author recounts how some of the artists eventually incorporated feathers in many of the dinosaurs they replicated. This is fascinating stuff, especially since there is no way to know just how accurate these depictions are. This one should be required reading in late elementary and middle grade classrooms. " said.

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