Children’s Book of the Week: If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today

If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon

This book is a lot like most dinosaur books, in that it’s crammed with dinofacts, has no plot, and sitting down to read it out loud cover to cover is a 2-hour event. But I don’t know, maybe all this dinosaur stuff is getting to me: I thought this book was fascinating, and I also appreciated that it took the whole dino facts notion and put a new spin on it.

The spin is this: if dinosaurs were alive today, how would they fit into our world? Coelophysis would scavenge for garbage, otters would eat the ammonites, and troodon would prey on kangaroos. (Bonus fact for Sarah: quetzalcoatlus would cause problems for small aircraft.) The book has great pictures that look like photos of the dinosaurs in our world (the illustrators were obviously having a ball — I like the two-page close-up spread of a microraptor, with the Statue of Liberty reflected in its eye).

Henry hasn’t let this book go since we got it from the library. I think the illustrations have a big part in this, but also the idea of what it would be like if the dinosaurs were still around. The book goes through dinosaur-by-dinosaur scenarios, and then talks generally about what meat-eaters, flying dinosaurs, and swimming dinosaurs would be like today. The back has lots of pages talking about how the dinosaurs might have evolved, and looking at modern animals with vestigial ties. At any rate, this book is worth it just for the amount of time your dinosaur lover will spend poring over the pages.

On a vaguely related note: why don’t dinosaur books include pronunciation guides? Why do they expect us to know how to say all these names?

Comments (1)

  1. Sarah April 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I got Paddle-to-the-Sea today and Jaya seems to like it. I gave up on Winne the Pooh after a few chapters, he couldn’t pay attention. Too bad, as I was enjoying it 🙂

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