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 JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!

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JD-man
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Jul 03, 2018 11:49 pm

My 47th review for this thread is a positive 1 for the 2004 edition of Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness Books). If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

The best edition ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RZ0S3CGZFRCPL/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

As far as I know, there are 5 editions of Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness Books) (henceforth DD 1989/2004/2008/2010/2014). As much as I love DD, it was never truly great: For 1, see the Ben quote; What Ben says about "the AMNH fossil halls" goes for DD; For another, DD is a mixed bag in terms of paleoart.* If you want the current best DD-style book, get Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs. If I were to recommend reading an edition of DD in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs), it'd be DD 2004. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why that is.

1) In reference to "For 1" (which mainly refers to DD 1989), DD 2004 partially solves this problem with "8 pages of new text", all of which are "distinctly color-coded". This is especially apparent in the "Find out more" & Glossary sections: The former lists some of the best dino museums in the U.S. & their websites (which is good because [1] it makes DD interactive, & [2] to quote Norman/Milner, "You can also take a virtual tour of many museums over the internet if you cannot visit them in person"); The latter clearly explains all technical terms. DD 2008 is almost exactly the same in content, the problem being that much of what was accurate in 2004 was inaccurate in 2008 (E.g. The records for "biggest dinosaur", "biggest meat-eater", & "shortest dinosaur name"). DD 2010/2014 have the opposite problem as DD 1989. While DD 1989 is too esoteric, DD 2010/2014 are too simple & condescending (E.g. "Hadrosaur" is defined 10 times throughout DD 2010, including twice on page 70). & if that's not bad enough, DD 2010/2014 are even more inaccurate for their time (probably because they're authored by a non-expert) & exclude said websites.

2) In reference to "For another", DD 2004 partially solves this problem with "stunning real-life photographs of dinosaur bones, skulls, teeth and more". This is especially apparent in the "and more" photos: Many of DD 1989's not-so-good life reconstructions, most of which were outdated even in 1989, were replaced in DD 2004 (E.g. Hill & Winterbotham's tail-dragging Mamenchisaurus & Diplodocus, respectively, were replaced by a herd of Graham High's Brachiosaurus); Many of those that weren't replaced got new captions (E.g. The new caption for Graham High's Deinonychus reads, "Most scientists now agree that, unlike the model shown here, Deinonychus was probably feathered"). Pixel-shack's bad life reconstructions started to replace DD's good ones in 2008 & almost completely took over in 2010/2014. Pixel-shack's "DK 2003" Velociraptor ( https://i037.radikal.ru/0805/62/0f35f1cca590.jpg ) replacing the AMNH's "Fighting Dinos" Velociraptor ( http://65.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lru07qBMv11qio57co1_1280.jpg ) is an especially good example of that.

*I'm specifically referring to DD's life reconstructions, many of which are not-so-good (I.e. Those by various illustrators & Pixel-shack in the older & newer editions, respectively).

Quoting Ben ( https://extinctmonsters.net/2015/02/26/framing-fossil-exhibits-phylogeny/ ):
Quote :
Within the actual fossil halls, interpretation remains stubbornly unapproachable. For example, the sign introducing proboscidians tells visitors that this group is defined primarily by eye sockets located near the snout. An observant visitor might wonder why scientists rely on such an obscure detail, as opposed to the obvious trunks and tusks. There’s a good teaching moment there concerning why some characteristics might face more selection pressure (and thus change more radically) than others, but instead visitors are only offered esoteric statements. Relatedly, the exhibit does little to prioritize information. Most label text is quite small, and there’s a lot of it. Compare this to Evolving Planet at the Field Museum, where there is a clear hierarchy of headings and sub-headings. Visitors can read the main point of a display without even stopping, and parents can quickly find relevant information to answer their charges’ questions (rather than making something up).
Evolving Planet also compares favorably to the AMNH fossil halls in its informative aesthetics and spatial logic. At FMNH, walls and signs in each section are distinctly color-coded, making transitions obvious and intuitive. Likewise, consistent iconography...such as the mass extinction zones...helps visitors match recurring themes and topics throughout the exhibit. AMNH, in contrast, has a uniform glass and white-walled Apple Store aesthetic. It’s visually appealing, but doesn’t do much to help visitors navigate the space in a meaningful way.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Jul 09, 2018 11:42 pm

My 48th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Maynard's The Best Book of Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Definitely NOT the best ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R797Y6F6B6JEW/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

In my experience, when a non-fiction dino book is given a superlative title, it's being set up for failure. As far as I know, only 1 such book lives up to its title & Maynard's The Best Book of Dinosaurs (henceforth BB) is definitely NOT it or even just decent in its own right.* In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) BB's life reconstructions are mostly not-so-good. Those by Kirk are as good as it gets in BB, while those by Forsey are as bad as it gets: In reference to Kirk, the ornithischians & Barosaurus are depicted with too many claws; Otherwise, the dinos are mostly accurate for the time & completely awesome for all time (E.g. See the Deinonychus on the back cover, which have tiger stripes & a lightning storm background); In reference to Forsey, I've already said everything I have to say about him in my Wonder review (I.e. "Wonder's more realistic reconstructions": https://www.amazon.com/review/RGU1QQZ5DR8A5/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ); Unfortunately, most of BB's life reconstructions are by Forsey. Those by Field fall somewhere in between, but more towards Forsey (E.g. See the Triceratops on the front cover, which have cartoonishly angry eyes & 4 clawed fingers per hand).

2) BB is a confusing mess in terms of organization. There isn't even an Introduction. BB just begins with a chapter about baby dinos & continues with no logical transitions or flow between the chapters.

3) BB fails to cover many dino-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner:** Sometimes, it simplifies things to the point of being meaningless; This is especially apparent in the chapter about the dino extinction because 1) the main text explains nothing about the science behind the dino extinction story, & 2) the sidebar text needlessly re-tells said story; Other times, it's just plain wrong; This is especially apparent in said chapter because it's claimed that 1) the asteroid "hit Earth in Central America" (Last I checked, Mexico =/= Central America), & 2) only "some scientists think that dinosaurs were the ancestors of modern birds" (Quoting Witmer from a 1995 book: "There are so many derived similarities between birds and these Deinonychus-like theropod dinosaurs that most paleontologists today believe birds are theropod dinosaurs!").

*By "1 such book", I mean Holtz's Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages (Dinosaurs for short).

**By "many", I mean half of all the dino-related subjects a decent introduction to dinos would cover. Using Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs as a guide, BB fails to cover "The dinosaur world", "Getting about", "Living animals", "Dinosaurs and people", & "Dinosaurs and birds".
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Sep 04, 2018 8:30 pm

My 49th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Rey's Extreme Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Extremely nostalgic ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1D5YN9OJS6MXU/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

If there's 1 thing I'm nostalgic for, it's Rey's traditional paleoart (which is overall better than his digital paleoart). If there's 1 thing I'm definitely NOT nostalgic for, it's the extreme dino genre (which is usually at best just a buzzword & at worst an excuse to make dinos as monstrous as possible). Not only is Rey's Extreme Dinosaurs (henceforth ED) the best extreme dino book, but also the best traditional Rey book.* In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Unlike other extreme dino books, "extreme" actually means something in ED. This is especially apparent in the 1st 2 chapters. Not only do said chapters define "extreme" (See the 1st Rey quote), but also use "the dinosaur-bird link" to reinforce that definition (See the 2nd Rey quote).

2) Unlike other extreme dino books, ED is very well-organized. More specifically, the middle chapters are arranged in both geographical & chronological order: In reference to "geographical", each chapter focuses on a different continent; In reference to "chronological", the chapters are arranged in order of their continent's 1st dino discovery, beginning with Europe & ending with Asia; Furthermore, the dinos in each chapter are described in order of their discovery (E.g. The Europe chapter begins with Iguanodon & ends with Scipionyx).

3) Unlike other extreme dino books, ED is very well-illustrated. The last chapter in particular features Rey's then-best/most bird-like dinos in terms of appearance & behavior. "Customising a life-size Velociraptor" (which, as far as I know, is the best Velociraptor model next to Kokoro's: http://www.luisrey.ndtilda.co.uk/html/custom.htm ) & "RAPTOR RED:Snow games" (which, as far as I know, is the best dino play behavior art, period: http://www.luisrey.ndtilda.co.uk/html/rapred.htm ) are especially good examples of the former & latter, respectively.

If I could, I'd give ED a 4.5/5. My only gripes are a few weird bits in the text (E.g. The Berlin Archaeopteryx is referred to as "the first Archaeopteryx fossil that was found") & writing (E.g. Some hadrosaurs are referred to as 4-legged, while others are referred to as 2-legged). However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5. I recommend reading ED in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs) as well as "Luis V. Rey's Dinosaurs and Paleontology Art Gallery" (which provides more info about most of Rey's ED work).

*Gee/Rey's "A Field Guide to Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook for Travelers in the Mesozoic" may be better in terms of paleoart (I.e. There's MUCH more of it), but definitely NOT in terms of text & writing.

Quoting Rey:
Quote :
There has never been a more exciting time to study dinosaurs. The better we get to know them, the more weird and wonderful and extreme they seem. We know a lot more about dinosaurs than we did when I was a kid. We used to think that dinosaurs were sluggish, cold blooded and not very bright. Then in 1964, Yale paleontologist John Ostrom found the arms and claws of a two-legged meat-eater he named Deinonychus...Deinonychus had enormous sickle-shaped claws on its feet. This meant that in order to kill its prey, it had to be able to leap into the air, cling to the victim with its hand claws, and slash with its feet. Deinonychus must have been a real acrobat. Could it be that dinosaurs were much more active than we had thought? Other extraordinary discoveries followed.

Quoting Rey:
Quote :
In 1988, my Deinonychus Pack was a controversial painting. Paleontologists who favored the idea of the dinosaur-bird link loved it. Others didn't. They thought dinosaur feathers were science fiction...they wanted to see scaly skin! Lots of evidence has piled up in favor of feathers since those days.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Sep 13, 2018 7:24 pm

My 50th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Mash's Extreme Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Extremely bad ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R10WWVQJN8L3MP/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

In my previous review, I referred to Rey's Extreme Dinosaurs as the best extreme dino book. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why Mash's Extreme Dinosaurs (henceforth ED) may be the worst extreme dino book.

1) Trish's ED review ( http://babbletrish.blogspot.com/2011/07/lets-read-another-eye-searingly-bad.html ) sums up most everything you need to know about Martin's paleoart in ED. However, I'll add my own thoughts as well:
-Martin's Brachiosaurus & Edmontosaurus are shameless rip-offs of Graham High's Brachiosaurus model & the NHM's Baryonyx model, respectively.
-Remember when "Nigel-the-Pelican-flies-into-a-window" in Finding Nemo ( https://ohmy.disney.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2014/06/Nigel-the-Pelican-flies-into-a-window.jpg )? Martin's Microraptor is basically a Mockbuster version of that.
-Remember the "All Yesterdays Cat" ( https://i.warosu.org/data/sci/img/0073/83/1436510676473.jpg )? Martin's T.rex is basically a Shar-Pei version of that.

2) Martin's paleoart isn't the only "Eye-Searingly Bad" part of ED. There's also Mash's writing: For 1, it goes back & forth between uncomfortably large & uncomfortably small; For another, it goes back & forth between several different fonts; Taken together, it's extremely difficult just to look at it, let alone read the words. & if that's not bad enough, Mash's writing is also annoyingly repetitive (E.g. "First, they were used first to kill the prey, and then to slice the meat")/inconsistent (E.g. Some of the info boxes list length; Others list length & weight; Still others list length, weight, & height)/derivative (E.g. See the Mash quote, which shamelessly rips off Chapter 4 of Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs).

3) Mash's text is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. This is especially apparent in the info boxes because the misses stick out more with less text.* However, the other sidebar misses may be worse in degree: Some of them are due to being extremely outdated (E.g. Not only are pachycephalosaurs & heterodontosaurs claimed to be ornithopods, but ornithischians & saurischians are claimed to be no more closely related to each other than they are to crocs & pterosaurs); Others are due to being extremely nonsensical (E.g. The skeleton on pages 10-11 is "[seemingly] based on Marsh's 1880s "Brontosaurus" skeletal, complete with mismatched macronarian head", yet is referred to as that of Diplodocus).**

*Even if you only read the info boxes, you'll see that there's an average of at least 1 or 2 factual errors per page in ED, a 32 page book (E.g. Brachiosaurus =/= 150-140 MYA & "up to 90 tons").

**Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: The evolution and ecology of the Dinosaurs: Part 2".

Quoting Mash:
Quote :
It is estimated a human being could have been torn apart in less than thirty seconds by a pack of Velociraptors!
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Nov 07, 2018 8:31 pm

My 51st review for this thread is a positive 1 for Witmer's The Search for the Origin of Birds. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

More cladistics yay! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RV35J07GNJZDT/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

To quote Grandmother Fish ( https://plus.google.com/+Grandmotherfish/posts/9vgV2CqjerP ), clades "are central to a modern understanding of how we living things relate to each other." Before Holtz's Dinosaurs, Witmer's The Search for the Origin of Birds (henceforth Search) was the best children's dino book when it came to introducing older kids to cladistics as well as the best pre-Sinosauropteryx dino-bird book for older kids. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Like Hedley's Dinosaurs and Their Living Relatives, Chapters 1-2 of Search cover cladistics & archosaurs. In fact, Search is even better: Not only does Search cover much of the same background info ("Homology versus convergence"), but also goes well beyond ("Primitive versus derived"); Thus, Search does more in 2 chapters than Hedley's book does in 4 chapters. 1 of my only gripes is that Search doesn't use the word "cladistics".*

2) Like Schlein's The Puzzle of the Dinosaur-bird: The Story of Archaeopteryx, Chapters 3-8 of Search cover the history of "the dinosaur-bird connection" from the 1860s to the 1970s, the Protoavis controversy, the "Time Problem", & "The Origin of Flight". In fact, Search is even better: While both books invite readers to "inspect the evidence [scientists] have found, and [follow the] debate over what the evidence means", only Search does so in the context of cladistics; This is especially apparent in Chapter 6 (E.g. See the 1st Witmer quote, which is especially good at showing why birds & dinos are too similar to be convergent).

3) Chapter 9 weighs the evidence & concludes that birds "evolved from a Triassic or Jurassic theropod dinosaur that resembled Deinonychus but was much smaller and, perhaps, spent a lot of time in the trees." However, because no such dinos were then known, the fringe group BAND (= Birds Are Not Dinosaurs) put forth the "Time Problem" & "The Origin of Flight" as arguments against said conclusion (I.e. Birds can't be dinos because [1] the earliest bird fossils are older than the most bird-like dino fossils, & [2] the earliest birds were small tree-climbers, but the most bird-like dinos were large ground-runners). The 2nd Witmer quote sums up why said conclusion is widely accepted & said arguments aren't. Put another way, said conclusion is based on mountains of hard evidence, while said arguments are from ignorance. It's also worth mentioning that many such dinos have since been found, including Anchiornis & Xiaotingia.

*My other gripe is the hit-&-miss paleoart: While some of the reconstructions are mostly accurate (Archaeopteryx, Compsognathus, Hypsilophodon, & Euparkeria), others are mostly not-so-accurate (Sphenosuchus, Deinonychus, & Troodon); The Holtz quote sums up everything wrong with the latter. I hate to say it because Mather's paleoart is nice to look at ( http://thisisbozeman.com/discovering-first-montanans ).

Quoting Holtz ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/05/holtzs-dinosaur-lovers-bookshelf-article.html ):
Quote :
Paleoart is, admittedly, a difficult enterprise: after all, its subject matter is long dead, and science can never expect to know very much about the creaturers' external surfaces or, for that matter, any of their other perishable features. Nevertheless, there is one inviolate rule of dinosaur restoration: if the known fossil skeleton conflicts with the shape of the reconstruction, the reconstruction must be wrong. That rule gives the casual reader at least a fighting chance of separating the wheat from the chaff: distinguishing books that depict restorations consistent with fossil specimens from books that have more in common with medieval bestiaries, conjured from rumor and imagination alone. One reliable clue that a book belongs to the former group is the inclusion of drawings or photographs of the fossil skeletons on which the restorations are based.

Quoting Witmer:
Quote :
Deinonychus is not all that similar to modern birds, but shows a number of close similarities to the Jurassic bird Archaeopteryx: the number and shapes of the openings in the snout, the positioning of the teeth in the skull, the number of fingers and the relative sizes of the finger bones, the unusual shapes of some of the wrist bones, the arrangement of the hip bones, a special kind of ankle structure, and a certain foot structure.
If we look closely at this list, we'll see that some characteristics give us more specific information about relationships than others. Some of these birdlike features (such as the ankle joint) are found in all dinosaurs, but in almost no other archosaurs. These specializations show that birds might be related to dinosaurs. Some of the features...the snout openings and foot structure...are specializations of a certain group of dinosaurs, the theropod saurischian dinosaurs. Some of the features...the positioning of the teeth, the hand and wrist structure...are found in only a few kinds of theropod dinosaurs. One feature...the hip bones...is found only in Deinonychus and its relatives.
These shared specializations that we see in Archaeopteryx, Deinonychus, and other dinosaurs suggest that birds indeed evolved from dinosaurs. But this idea is different from the old, original theory of dinosaur-bird relationships discussed in Chapter 3. The old version was very vague. It didn't show which group of dinosaurs might be closer to birds. This new theory not only says that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but also identifies a particular group of dinosaurs, the theropods. It even points to a small group of theropod dinosaurs that are most closely related to birds. There are so many derived similarities between birds and these Deinonychus-like theropod dinosaurs that most paleontologists today believe birds are theropod dinosaurs!

Quoting Witmer:
Quote :
In searching for the origin of birds, we came across many conflicting clues:...How do we make sense of these clues that point us in different directions?...The clues from the ages of fossils are not fully trustworthy. It's possible that we may someday discover Deinonychus-like fossils in old-enough rocks. If that happened, the "time problem" would disappear…The clues from the theories on the origin of flight are even less reliable. We don't know much about how dinosaurs lived their lives. Maybe some of the Deinonychus-like theropods actually were small and spent a lot of time in trees...The most reliable clues are the ones that come from the structure of the bones themselves. They are more certain…we can look at them, measure them, hold them in our hands.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Nov 14, 2018 12:42 am

My 52nd review for this thread is a negative 1 for Brooklyn's If You Were Raised by a Dinosaur. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect: https://www.charlesbridge.com/products/if-you-were-raised-by-a-dinosaur ). Many thanks in advance.

The worst popular baby dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PBFKZ4BOZCNN/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best baby dino book for older kids, get Zoehfeld's Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young: Uncovering the Mystery of Dinosaur Families & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs in general & Chapter 36 in particular). Brooklyn's If You Were Raised by a Dinosaur (henceforth You) may be the worst. It just goes to show what a difference some expert consulting & personal research can make.

Long version: Read on.

Many popular baby dino books are OK, but not great. There are 3 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) They're mixed bags in terms of paleoart (Quoting Miller: "I bought the book expecting a more technical discussion of the animals discussed therein...but was surprised to find beautiful paintings of questionably-restored dinosaurs"); 2) They're confusing messes in terms of organization; 3) They fail to cover many baby dino-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner (I.e. Sometimes, they simplify things to the point of being meaningless; Other times, they're just plain wrong). In this review, I focus on reasons #1 & #3 & why I think they make You the worst popular baby dino book.

1) Not only is You's paleoart very questionable, but also very ugly. More specifically, it consists of cheap-looking paper collages of anachronistic assemblages of mostly gray/green/brown animals with wonky anatomy in inappropriate environments: In reference to "anachronistic assemblages", see the cover; There's a generic rhamphorhynchid pterosaur, a Massospondylus family, an Apatosaurus family, & a T.rex family; In reference to "wonky anatomy", see "Review update #52 (It's a big 1)!" for everything wrong with the cover in terms of anatomy ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/Review-update-52-It-s-a-big-1-772428585 ); In reference to "inappropriate environments", the cover depicts a grassland environment despite the fact that, to quote Holtz ( https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/lectures/104shadow.html ), "grasses seem to have been relatively rare in the Mesozoic, and did not form grasslands until much later. Ground cover in the later Mesozoic was a mixture of ferns and herbaceous angiosperms. So as far as we know, no dinosaur other than birds ever wandered in prairies or savannahs".

3A) In reference to "Sometimes", You's writing is overcomplicated (as opposed to oversimplified). More specifically, it's like when "Chandler and Monica ask Joey to write a recommendation letter for them to the adoption agency. To sound smart, Joey uses a thesaurus [on every word]" ( https://globalnews.ca/news/315234/friends-sitcom-helps-esl-community-learn-english/ ). The Brooklyn quote in "Review update #52 (It's a big 1)!" is the best example of that ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/Review-update-52-It-s-a-big-1-772428585 ): For 1, it's also the best example of incorrectly pluralized dino names (Seriously, "T. rexes"?); For another, it shamelessly rips off Chapter 17 of Holtz's Dinosaurs.

3B) In reference to "Other times", this is especially apparent in the Brooklyn quote below (which fails on so many levels that I need to quote the UCMP just to demonstrate): It fails to understand that Geist/Jones are 1) not dino experts, & 2) known for "publishing with a hidden agenda" ( https://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/17/birds-cannot-be-dinosaurs ); It fails to understand "modern-day [precocial] birds and alligators", most of which DO need parental care, including most of those in Geist/Jones's study; It fails to understand Maiasaura (which, to paraphrase Anthony J. Martin, "is arguably the best understood of nesting dinosaurs, only rivaled by its neighbors in the same field area, [Troodon]"); It fails to understand that Geist/Jones's study was at least 9 years out of date at the time of You's publication.

1 more thing of note: To quote Dussart (See Biosciences on the Internet: A Student's Guide), "The speed and ease of email, plus its association with the web, mean that it is relatively easy to find and contact experts"; Thus, there's no excuse for You to not have expert consulting, especially given that some experts make a living from consultancy (E.g. Darren Naish: https://darrennaish.wordpress.com/ ); At the very least, having it would've helped prevent many of the textual fails (if not the visual ones too); In fact, said fails are so basic that they could've easily been avoided with up-to-date personal research; Unfortunately, there's very little of said research in You & it's mostly used incorrectly; In contrast, Sattler's Tyrannosaurus Rex and Its Kin: The Mesozoic Monsters shows how good a non-authoritative book can be with a lot of said research ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3INFL96O3PWAS/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=068807748X ).

Quoting Brooklyn:
Quote :
Not all scientists agree with the interpretation that Maiasaura babies needed parental care. Scientists Nicholas Geist and Terry Jones examined the hip and knee bones of different birds and alligators. They compared the hip bones and knee joints of Maiasaura to that of modern-day birds and alligators, which don't need parental care. The Maiasaura hips were at least as well developed as the birds', and the knee joints were no weaker than the birds' or alligators'. This might mean that Maiasaura babies did not need care from their parents as Horner believed.

Quoting the UCMP ( http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/science/eggshell/eggshell_case1.php ):
Quote :
In their original description of embryonic remains from the Willow Creek Anticline, Horner and Weishampel (1988) cited degree of ossification of the leg bones of Maiasaura and Troodon (then thought to be Orodromeus) to indicate the level of mobility of young after hatching. Subsequently, Geist and Jones (1996) compared extant perinatal (the developmental stage immediately prior to and following hatching) birds and crocodilians to fossil dinosaur embryos and hatchlings. They found that the extent of hip bone development was more important than leg bone development for recognizing precocial versus altricial hatchlings, and that the leg bones of Maiasaura, Troodon, and other dinosaurs did not reliably indicate the mobility of a hatchling. Geist and Jones suggested that the hatchling dinosaurs studied were likely precocial upon birth, although this does not preclude the provision of extended parental care. Horner et al. (2001) countered Geist and Jones' (1996) argument after an extensive histological analysis of turtle, crocodilian, non-avian dinosaur, and bird embryonic and perinatal bones that compared bone developmental patterns and growth rates. The authors correlated ossification and growth rates with life-history strategies. Horner et al. (2001) concluded that developmental differences (including growth rates) in embryonic and perinatal dinosaur bones from the Willow Creek Anticline indicate a precocial lifestyle for Troodon and Orodromeus hatchlings and an altricial lifestyle for hadrosaur hatchlings that necessitated parental care; this work supported their original hypothesis (Horner and Weishampel 1988).
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Feb 18, 2019 1:41 am

My 53rd review for this thread is a positive 1 for Johnson/Stucky's Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

I'm a sucker for dioramas ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3F47215A3OEHY/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

There's a lot to like about Johnson/Stucky's Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth (henceforth PJ). My favorite aspects of PJ are as follows:
-Similarly to Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs, PJ was published by 1 of the best natural history museums, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (& thus, is extra authoritative). I can't overstate the importance of books like PJ (in conjunction with museum websites) to ppl like me (who can't visit those museums in person).
-Also similarly to Gardom/Milner's book, PJ has a "direct, clear written style, with all unfamiliar names and technical terms clearly explained" (which is especially important for a "primer on the evolution of the planet's life forms": https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ).
-As indicated by this review's title, the real highlights of PJ are the prehistoric habitat dioramas, 1 at the beginning of each chapter. As you may remember, I said that dioramas "are the best dino exhibits" ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3PD2BYTU5ANKB/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ).* PJ is an especially good example of that. The "Cretaceous Creekbed" diorama is my favorite ( https://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=66391&from ).

My only gripes are as follows:
-There are no cladograms in PJ despite it being a "primer on the evolution of the planet's life forms".
-There are a few weird bits in the text (E.g. Deinonychus was discovered in Montana in 1964, not "Wyoming in 1966") & writing (E.g. "With the new herbivorous dinosaurs rose groups of new carnivorous animals, including...dromaeosaurs, troodontids, and velociraptors"; Technically correct, but still weird).
-Gurche's "Allosaurus and Stegosaurus" (which is based on the DMNS's "Fighting Dinosaurs": https://extinctmonsters.net/2015/08/14/denvers-fighting-dinosaurs/ ) is on the cover, implying that the other 2D life reconstructions are of the same or similar quality. In actuality, they're watercolors by Greg Micheals (which are very easy on the eyes, but not on the level of Gurche's painting). This is like how some copies of The Last Dinosaur have Gurche's "Daspletosaurus and Styracosaurus" on the cover ( http://www.nanarland.com/Chroniques/dernierdinosaure/last_dinosaur_vhs.jpg ), implying that you're gonna get Jurassic Park-style dinos when you're actually getting Godzilla-style dinos.

*Google "Dinosaurs, dioramas, and the strange world of natural history" for why.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Feb 18, 2019 4:46 pm

My 54th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Jenkins's Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Did you put any effort into this? ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R21LUEX1AD0VBE/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best children's books about both evolution & the history of life, get 1) the 2009 edition of Gamlin's Evolution (DK Eyewitness Books), & 2) Kelly/Kissel's Evolving Planet: Four Billion Years of Life on Earth. They're everything that kind of book should be & MUCH more. Jenkins's Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution (henceforth Life) is the exact opposite of that in every way.

Long version: Read on.

As far as I know, there aren't many children's books about both evolution & the history of life. If you want the best ones, get 1) the 2009 edition of Gamlin's book (which features a "giant wallchart, interactive clip-art CD and dedicated website"), & 2) Kelly/Kissel's book (which was published by 1 of the best natural history museums, the Field Museum of Natural History). If said books are the Sonic Sat AM of their genre, then Life is The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvTn8Qp8FAU ). In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why I think that is, besides the lack of expert consulting.

1) Life is very poorly-illustrated. This is especially apparent in the illustrations of non-bird dinos (E.g. The generic sauropod on the front cover has lizard feet & an ear hole on its neck; The generic tyrannosaur on the back cover has pronated hands & a vertical posture; Both have misshapen heads & dragging tails), but also applies to the illustrations of other things (E.g. The ostrich on the front cover has spaghetti legs with 3 long, clawed toes per foot: https://www.earthrangers.com/content/wildwire/ostrich-feet.jpg ). It doesn't help that "the illustrations are collages of cut and torn paper" & thus very cheap looking.

2) Life is very hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. This is especially apparent in the text about non-bird dinos (E.g. See the 1st Jenkins quote;* It's also worth mentioning that the aforementioned sauropod is referred to as Megalosaurus, a theropod), but also applies to the text about other things (E.g. What's clearly a Komodo dragon is referred to as Hylonomus, an early reptile). It's very telling that the only dino book listed under "For further reading" is from 1991.

3) Life is very poorly-written: For 1, it synonymizes "developed" with "evolved" ( https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/l_042_02.html ); For another, it simplifies things to the point of being meaningless (E.g. See the 2nd Jenkins quote; Notice that it fails to mention either DNA, which causes mutation, or variation, which is caused by mutation).

4) There are no cladograms in Life. This is despite the fact that clades "are central to a modern understanding of how we living things relate to each other" ( https://plus.google.com/+Grandmotherfish/posts/9vgV2CqjerP ). Worse still, evolution is shown as a straight line. This is despite the fact that the 1993 edition of Gamlin's book, listed under "For further reading", debunks that "false picture" (See the Gamlin quote).

*In said quote alone, it's claimed that dinos are paraphyletic (They're not), that marine reptiles & pterosaurs are dinos (They're not), & that 230 - 160 = 65 (It doesn't).

Quoting Jenkins:
Quote :
230 million years ago. One or more groups of reptiles evolve into dinosaurs. They range from bird-like animals a few inches tall to giants more than 90 feet long. They live in the sea, on the land, and in the air. Dinosaurs will be the dominant animals on the earth for the next 160 million years.

Quoting Jenkins:
Quote :
Mutation. Sometimes when plants and animals reproduce, something unusual happens and completely new features, called mutations, appear in the next generation. Most mutations are harmful and cause the organism to die. Sometimes, though, they provide an advantage and are passed on.

Quoting Gamlin:
Quote :
GALLOPING UP
The evolution of the horse is often shown by a diagram such as this (left). Although the fossils of all these ancestors have indeed been found, this “ladder” gives a false picture. Evolution does not go in straight lines, and it is not always a steady march of progress from small-and-simple to large-and-complicated. A more realistic image is a densely branching bush (below). There have been dozens of species, most of which have died out, leaving just wild horses, donkeys, and zebras.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Mar 12, 2019 7:07 am

I originally posted the following at deviantART ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/Review-update-1-5-789276373 ).

Quote :
Hi everybody!

"My serious dino books" used to be a Listmania! List ( https://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/03/introducing-hadiazmy-1st-listmania-list.html ), but then Amazon stopped doing Listmania!, so now it's an Idea List ( https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AHGP423NZJT3YDNSVR7I54NEYPMQ/3MZCS9P4ICST4 ). I've since updated previous mentions of said list accordingly (E.g. Finally, my 1st journal entry!, hence the title of this journal entry). This journal entry is just in case you haven't already seen said updates. 3 more things of note:

-1) I've also since updated the requirements for said list. They're basically the same, but more streamlined.*

-2) I've also since completed said list (Amazon stopped doing Listmania! before I could add Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved", among others). I like to think of it as a near perfect reading list, partly b/c of its requirements (which, to quote Dino Dad Reviews, are for "separating the paleo-wheat from the cheap-cash-in-chaff"), & partly b/c it consists of 30 popular adult dino books spanning 30 years to the month (I.e. October 1986-October 2016).

-3) I've also since noticed that the 1st & last 6 books on said list are surprisingly similar (I.e. There's a great natural history of dinos w/a terrible cover, a book titled "Flying Dinosaurs", another natural history of dinos that accompanies a dino doc series, & a book authored & illustrated by GSPaul). Funny how that worked out.

*E.g. What used to be 2 requirements is now 1: For adult "casual readers"/"the enthusiast" ( http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2008/04/paleo-reading-list.html ).

Cheers,
Herman Diaz
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Apr 08, 2019 8:15 am

My 55th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Norman's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Surprisingly great/awesomebro ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RJ6H99FGIW6CC/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 5/5

Short version: Norman's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (henceforth Earth) is 1) his best/most awesomebro children's book, & 2) 1 of the best/most awesomebro children's natural histories of dinos (Google "Jurassic Park 4: Awesomebro!" for what I mean by "awesomebro"). I recommend reading Earth in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved).

Long version: Read on.

Many Norman books are OK, but not great. There are 3 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) They're mixed bags in terms of paleoart (Quoting Miller: "I bought the book expecting a more technical discussion of the animals discussed therein...but was surprised to find beautiful paintings of questionably-restored dinosaurs"); 2) They're confusing messes in terms of organization; 3) They're dry & esoteric in terms of writing.* Thus, Norman wasn't the 1st person who came to mind when I thought of great/awesomebro dino books, but he might be now that I've read Earth. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why that is.

1) Vincent's Earth review ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2014/11/vintage-dinosaur-art-when-dinosaurs.html ) sums up most everything you need to know about Sibbick's paleoart in Earth. However, I'll add my own thoughts as well:
-In reference to the cover art, Symbion pandora put it best when she said, "Great cover, or Greatest cover?? Fire, random volcanoes, the obligate pterosaur AND a T-rex viciously killing something-- what more could you ask from an '80's kids' dinosaur book?" ( http://symbion-pandora.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-hoarding-update.html ). Is there any dino book cover more awesomebro (& accurate for the time) than that?
-In reference to the interior art, Hartman put it best when he said, "I was also impressed with the gritty realism of John Sibbick’s illustrations in David Norman’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" ( http://prehistoricbeastoftheweek.blogspot.com/2013/02/interview-with-artist-and.html ). The keyword there is "gritty". All of Sibbick's paleoart is "hyper-realistic", but only his Earth work combines that hyper-realism with "gritty" awesomeness. This is especially apparent when you compare the large, green, front-facing ceratopsian in Earth ( http://www.bibdsl.co.uk/imagegallery/bds/200443/9781840924565.JPG ) to those in the "Normanpedia" ( https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fCNZw7qDzBw/T94uVESk7xI/AAAAAAAAA8U/WbHsPgxsP9w/s1600/Cover.jpg ) & Creatures of Long Ago: Dinosaurs ( https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kjeVHVb-E0M/UL0XY1Iw0bI/AAAAAAAABwM/8QdfPEWjGcE/s1600/Cover.jpg ).
-If Sibbick's Creatures of Long Ago: Dinosaurs work is mostly accurate for the time & his "Normanpedia" work is mostly not-so-accurate for the time, then his Earth work is semi-accurate for the time. My only other gripe is the "Dinosaur names" section (which includes non-dino names without clarifying that they're non-dino names).

2) Dry & esoteric writing works in technical books, but not in popular ones. Likewise, confusing organization doesn't work in any book. Fortunately, Earth doesn't have those problems. It helps that Earth is a natural history of dinos & thus the best kind of non-encyclopedic dino book. More specifically, Earth "is designed to be read from start to finish as the developing story of a remarkable group of animals...[in a] direct, clear written style" ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ).** This is especially apparent in the Introduction (See the Norman quote).

*In reference to "dry", not as plain-toast as many Benton books, but dry nonetheless. In reference to "esoteric", it doesn't help that they lack glossaries.

**Google "For Love of Stories" for why it's important that popular dino books are designed that way.

Quoting Norman:
Quote :
Introduction
The last dinosaurs walked this Earth 64 million years ago...an almost unimaginably long time. They were members of a great group of reptiles that had dominated the Earth for 140 million years. Yet because the remains of these long-dead animals have been preserved as fossils it has proved possible, by painstaking work of excavation and scientific study, to learn much about their anatomy, way of life and evolutionary history...in fact to almost bring them back to life.
The purpose of this book is to introduce the enthusiast to most of the better-known dinosaurs. This is done by combining accurate life-like colour illustrations with careful discussion of what is presently known about dinosaur biology. In this way the reader should learn a great deal, not only about individual dinosaurs, but also of the world they inhabited and their position in the much greater history of life on Earth.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Apr 09, 2019 1:24 am

My 56th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Alexander's A Child's Introduction to Natural History: The Story of Our Living Earth–From Amazing Animals and Plants to Fascinating Fossils and Gems. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

This shouldn't be anyone's intro ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R18JAUMD9S7UY5/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best family-friendly intro to natural history that features non-bird dinos, get DK's Natural History (Smithsonian). It's everything that kind of book should be & MUCH more. Alexander's A Child's Introduction to Natural History: The Story of Our Living Earth–From Amazing Animals and Plants to Fascinating Fossils and Gems (henceforth AC) is the exact opposite of that in every way.

Long version: Read on.

As far as I know, there aren't many family-friendly intros to natural history that feature non-bird dinos. If you want the best 1, get DK's book. If DK's book is the Sonic Sat AM of its genre, then AC is The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvTn8Qp8FAU ). Yes, I already used that analogy in my Life review ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R21LUEX1AD0VBE/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), but that's how bad AC is. There are 4 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) It's very poorly-illustrated; 2) It's very poorly-organized; 3) It's very non-authoritative; 4) It fails to cover many natural history-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner (I.e. Sometimes, it simplifies things to the point of being meaningless; Other times, it's just plain wrong). In this review, I list what I think are the best examples of said reasons.

1) Unlike DK's book (which is "The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth"), AC is illustrated with Hamilton's childish drawings & Shutterstock's cheap-looking stock photos.* Hamilton's naturalist & dino drawings are especially bad: For 1, her Charles Darwin/Steve Irwin/Jane Goodall look like a baby doll/female clown/male Whig, respectively ( https://www.chinasprout.com/store/media/BLC885L05.jpg ); For another, her Velociraptor & Deinonychus are shameless rip-offs of Terakoshi's Deinonychus (which she didn't even fully feather, which would've made it more accurate & less ripped off) & Martyniuk's Velociraptor (which she didn't even finish, hence the missing claws & facial features), respectively ( https://www.chinasprout.com/store/media/BLC885L07.jpg ).

2) Unlike DK's chapters & their contents (which, as indicated by the 1st DK quote, are insanely well-organized), AC's are scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason. This is especially apparent in the reptile & dino chapters: Not only is the former preceded & followed by the freshwater & desert chapters, respectively, but it's divided into snake/turtle & lizard/croc sections despite the fact that snake/lizard & turtle/croc sections would've made MUCH more sense for obvious reasons;** Not only is the latter divided into plant eater, meat eater, & non-dino sections without any other context, but it isn't even consistent (I.e. The plant eater & meat eater sections discuss meat eaters & plant eaters, respectively).

3) Unlike DK's book (which, as indicated by the 2nd DK quote, is insanely authoritative), AC is authored by a non-expert who isn't even a collaborator with experts. As indicated by my You review ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PBFKZ4BOZCNN/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), there's no excuse for that.

4A) In reference to "It fails", this is especially apparent in the invertebrate & dino chapters: For 1, using DK's book as a guide, AC covers every major vertebrate group, but only 3 major invertebrate groups, completely ignoring the other 4; For another, using Holtz's Dinosaurs as a guide, AC only covers 8 genera representing 7 major groups, while DK's book covers 21 genera representing 16 major groups.

4B) In reference to "Sometimes," this is especially apparent in the Ice Age chapter (E.g. See the Alexander quote).

4C) In reference to "Other times," this is especially apparent in the dino chapter. Even if you only read the bolded sentences, you'll see that there's at least 8 factual inaccuracies in those 3 pages. The worst ones are the claims that 1) "Paleontology is the study of dinosaurs", & 2) "No true dinosaur flew". Besides being blatantly false, they're contradicted by the earlier claims that 1) "fossils aren't only about dinosaurs", & 2) "some even flew."

*In reference to "childish drawings", they look like those of a kid learning to draw by copying photos badly.

**It's also worth mentioning that unlike DK's book (which has a 4-page "tree of life", showing how all living things are related), AC has no cladograms.

Quoting DK:
Quote :
Natural History begins with a general introduction to life on Earth: the geological foundations of life, the evolution of life forms, and how organisms are classified. The next five chapters form an extensive and accessible catalog of species and specimens...from mineral to mammals...interspersed with fact-filled introductions to each group and in-depth feature profiles.

Quoting DK:
Quote :
Featuring more than 5,000 illustrations of everything on Earth...from rocks to redwoods, microbes to mammals...this is the most spectacular survey of our planet's treasures ever made. Compiled by a team of professional wildlife experts working with the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, NATURAL HISTORY is the ultimate celebration of the world's extraordinary diversity of life.

Quoting Alexander:
Quote :
The ground sloth was an extra-large relative of a modern-day sloth. How large? Most were the size of an ox. Unlike today's sloths that spend their days up in the trees, some ground sloths stayed on the ground. They ate plants and stood on their hind legs to reach the tops of trees.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Sep 02, 2019 4:16 am

My 57th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Michard's The Reign of the Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

A REALLY concise natural history ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1XKIJYJI2F8YU/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0810928086 ): 5/5

The best way I can describe Michard's The Reign of the Dinosaurs (henceforth TR) is as a cross between the 1st edition of DK's Dinosaur (Eyewitness) & the 1st edition of Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Like Gardom/Milner's book, TR is very well-organized. More specifically, both books have a day-in-the-life format (I.e. The 1st part introduces the dinos & their world; The 2nd part shows how the dinos lived & evolved in their world); This makes sense given that, according to Ernest Thompson Seton, day-in-the-life stories are the best way to write natural history (See "NOTE TO THE READER": http://www.gatewaytotheclassics.com/browse/display.php?author=seton&book=wild&story=_front ).

2) Like DK's book, TR is very concise. This is especially apparent in Chapter 2 (I.e. "In search of an identity"), which is basically equivalent to the 1st 14 pages of Gardom/Milner's Chapter 8 (I.e. "Dinosaurs and people"), covering all of the same ground in ~1/2 as many pages (corrected for size).

3) TR is very well-illustrated. Vincent's TR review ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2012/01/vintage-dinosaur-art-reign-of-dinosaurs.html ) sums up most everything you need to know about that. However, I'll add my own thoughts as well:
-I'm surprised that Vincent doesn't mention the great photos & drawings of fossils, especially the historical ones in Chapter 2.
-I'm also surprised that Vincent doesn't mention Hallett's "The River" (which I really like not only because it shows a good bird's-eye view of that environment, but also because it shows where the dinos lived in that environment: https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/dinosaur-national-monument-panorama-mark-hallett.jpg ).
-Like DK's book, TR features a lot of "well-worn art". TR puts some of it into historical context, but not all of it (E.g. Most of Burian's 1956 work). There are a few other weird bits of art & text throughout TR.* Otherwise, TR is great & I recommend reading it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved).

*E.g. In reference to art, the Styracosaurus on page 80 is a shameless & abominable rip-off of Zallinger's Styracosaurus. In reference to text, it's claimed on page 33 that "the consensus among many specialists is that [T.rex] was probably more of a scavenger than a predator."
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JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Sep 02, 2019 3:39 pm

My 58th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Creagh's Dinosaurs (Nature Company Discoveries Libraries). If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Surprisingly bad ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RJC08JRY6J57L/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 2/5

For as long as there has been Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness Books) (henceforth DD), there have been wannabes. As much as I love DD, I understand why readers would want an alternative ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RZ0S3CGZFRCPL/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). However, as far as I know, Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs is the only good alternative. Creagh's Dinosaurs (Nature Company Discoveries Libraries) (henceforth DN), while not the worst alternative, is still very bad (which is surprising given Milner's involvement). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is, besides the confusingly-messy organization.*

1) DN is annoyingly redundant/vague in terms of writing: In reference to redundant, this is especially apparent in "Dinosaur Facts"; 8 of the 14 questions had already been answered earlier in DN; In reference to vague, this is especially apparent in "Why Did They Vanish?"; Notice that the Creagh quotes don't explain how dinos went extinct, but just list causes.

2) DN is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. Again, this is especially apparent in "Dinosaur Facts": 1st, it's claimed that dinos "could not fly", contradicting the earlier claim that Archaeopteryx was "a small, flesh-eating dinosaur [that] could fly"; Then, it's claimed that "about 800 species...have been described", contradicting the earlier claim that "we know of at least 1,000".

3) Unlike DD's life reconstructions, DN's are mostly not-so-good: Those by Kirshner are as good as it gets (E.g. See the Baryonyx on the cover of Long's Dinosaurs (Little Guides)); The others are shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. Many of them are shameless rip-offs of Sibbick's "Normanpedia" reconstructions), just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. See Eriksson's very dark & elephantine Styracosaurus on the cover), or some combination of both (E.g. Newman/Thornton's Maiasaura is a shameless rip-off of Crosby-Smith's Velociraptor with "a finely polished finish reminiscent of a 4x4 vehicle purchased by a money-crazed, wantonly aggressive businessperson").**

*At least DD has an Introduction. DN just begins with a section about pre-dinos & continues with no logical transitions or flow between the sections & chapters.

**Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: A natural history of Dinosaurs – Part 1" & "Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual - Part 1" for Crosby-Smith's Velociraptor & "a finely polished finish", respectively.

Quoting Creagh:
Quote :
BIG BANG
According to one theory, several volcanic eruptions produced climatic changes that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Quoting Creagh:
Quote :
METEORITE HITS
Perhaps a giant meteorite hit the Earth, causing dust clouds, acid rain, storms and huge waves.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 2 Icon_minitime

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