Wednesday, October 9, 2019

50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries From the Golden Age of Dinos, by Sabrina Ricci

I Know Dino, October 2019

This book is organized in sections, one for each continent, with stories and facts about a selection of the dinosaurs found on that continent. Each section contains several brief stories about a probable typical day in the life of a member of that species of dinosaur, based on what we know about it and its environment, followed by basic facts about that type of dinosaur. After several such stories plus facts, each section has several "just the facts" summaries about additional dinosaurs from that continent.

I think I am not the intended audience for this book. With the title, I was expecting mostly narrative story-telling, and whether it was narrative accounts of what we think we know about the dinosaurs, or narrative accounts of the scientists and expeditions that discovered the dinosaurs, didn't really concern me. Either can be extremely interesting. Instead, while there are narrative, unavoidably somewhat speculative but well-grounded in known facts, stories about the dinosaurs, they're fundamentally just brief intros to the recitation of facts about those dinosaurs. There are no real accounts of the discovery and identification of these dinosaurs, and mentions of the people who did the discovering is largely limited to explaining the genus and species names.

I think the target audience has more in-depth knowledge of dinosaurs, including the terminology. I know some of the terminology, but only some, and there were a lot of terms used casually here that I needed to resort to a dictionary for. This was not occasional terms; it was true of most of the "facts about this dinosaur" segments. There is clearly an assumption that the reader has more than just the average educated adult's knowledge of dinosaurs.

People, possibly, who listen to Sabrinia Ricci and Garret Kruger's podcast, I Know Dino.

Which, I have to say, looks really promising for someone who wants to make an in-depth dive into dinosaur knowledge.

Please don't mistake what I'm saying for a criticism of the book. Even the very best book isn't for everyone, and I'm just not the target audience for this one. The stories that are here are well-written and interesting, and there are other subjects where I'd find those "just the facts" sections to be efficient and useful. So if you might be the intended audience for this book, please check it out, and also their podcast, linked above. There are people for whom this book is going to be both delightful and helpful.

So, if you're really into dinosaurs, highly recommended. Just don't let the title fool you into thinking this is the book to hand to your six-year-old who loves dinosaurs.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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