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*Uneversaurus* by Aidan Potts
by Aidan Potts
Ages 4-8 48 pages David Fickling Books April 2007 Hardcover    

Uneversaurus by Professor Potts tackles a specific aspect of dinosaur research: this is not a dinosaur dictionary, but rather an exploration of what dinosaurs may have looked like. It explains how the actual colors of dinosaurs are – and will be – forever unknown, and that scientists can only give an educated guess as to what their true colors were.

The discussion on how to formulate a good hypothesis of what they may have looked like, by doing such things as comparing them with similar animals, showing their climate and surroundings, and/or by using other basic characteristics (body temperature, food sources, and chameleon-like capabilities), is well thought-out and thoroughly explained.

The author asks valid and interesting questions that are sure to make children think more deeply about this subject and, by using and defining the relevant scientific words for things (aposematism, for example) manages to avoid both talking down to or way above the children who are sure to enjoy this sort of book.

The illustrations, complete with comic book-style word bubbles, are amusing on different levels and sure to please both kids and adults (which can sometimes be a problem with books aimed for children who still aren’t reading solely on their own). They’re also essential to the plot, beautifully and colorfully done, and fascinating.

The inclusion of a reproducible color-it-yourself blank dinosaur page enables kids to incorporate what they’ve learned into their own theories on dinosaurs.

The step by step journey from fossil to “finished” reproduction of what a dinosaur might actually have looked like is educational, informative and fun, and perfect for use in schools. From its witty title (You never saw us!) to its two charming narrators, Uneversaurus is a book worth checking out.

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  Melissa McLaughlin/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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