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History Uncovered: Dinosaurs Review by Amber Smith

Large Hardback
Dennis Schatz
The Quarto Group
The Quarto Group, Inc.
401 North Second Avenue, Suite 310
Minneapolis, MN 55401

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At our house Dinos are life. History Uncovered: Dinosaurs, by Dennis Schatz, is a visual beast of a dinosaur book. It is a colorfully illustrated, stunning, large format hard cover. The vibrant, sturdy, board-book-like pages of this book, open to a huge twenty-four by twelve-inch spread. That is two square feet of prehistoric creatures and their habitats. This feature alone is sure to satisfy both the passing page turner and the future dino-hunter in your home.

My son is an advanced level dinosaur enthusiast. The kind of kid, who can not only say pachycephalosaurs, but can identify one too. I would have given him this book years ago because of the sturdy pages, but he is loving History Uncovered: Dinosaurs at age seven just as well as he would of at four. Each two-page spread covers a prehistoric time period in which the illustrated dinosaurs lived. One page covered the Permian and Triassic periods. Several pages covered creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods where the abundance of dinosaur fossils are discovered. These pages are filled with edge to edge illustrations. Each dinosaur is depicted with a call-out box featuring; the common name, pronunciation, meaning and the dinosaur size, followed by a short description and what scientists have learned about it.

A fun “peek to the next page” feature keeps the reader excited about the pages to come by offering a sneak peek through the cut-out window. This feature is then used to highlight some detail from the previous page after turning the page. This is great for expanding your child’s attention span as well as facilitating reading comprehension questions in a natural way.

One spread covers the “End of the Era” including concepts like continental drift and the idea that meteorites ended the reign of dinosaurs. These are common references we see in most of our dinosaur books. As a parent, I usually direct attention to how people need to make a guess or hypotheses when we don’t have clear answers from the Bible about what happened. For our family, the ideas introduced are examples of some ideas people have come up with to explain the disappearance of dinosaurs. Since we weren’t there to know; the best we have is theories, and these are the most popular ones. Despite this reassurance, my son still hates meteorites, because they may have ruined his chances to ride a plesiosaur. This is the level of Dino love we ascribe to in our house.

The final page talks about “Piecing It Together.” This page talks about where our dinosaur bones come from. We read how scientists and amateur fossil hunter alike discover, learn about and categorize the bones they find. It as a quick spread with a huge armature display, all wired together in the center. For a young fossil hunter, it is pretty inspiring.

The book does use the world view that states as fact that dinosaurs lived 180 million years ago and categorizes them according to a scientific timeline using the common era terms. We always share our personal views with our children at the beginning of any reading book like this. If you are strongly opposed to an “Old Earth” timeline, please note that the timeline is a central part of the books design and there are references to it throughout.

If you are looking for a book to get out of the “Top Ten” dino rut, this would be a beautiful and long-lasting addition to your home collection as well as a great way to learn about some creatures you might not have encountered before. While you are at if this book sounded interesting you might want to check out the publisher’s catalog for more. I just discovered The Quarto Group, but their list of offerings is as long, as it is impressive. History Uncovered: Dinosaurs, is just one of the many beautiful books they offer for your homeschool library.

- Product review by Amber Smith, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2018