Sunday, April 16, 2017

My 18th Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a very good book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews:
-"My 11th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 12th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 13th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 14th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 15th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 16th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 17th Pair of Reviews":

Could be better, but still good ( ): 4/5

As you may remember, I've always wanted a sequel issue to Wexo's "Zoobooks - Dinosaurs" (henceforth ZD: ). Now, thanks to "Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life: New Zoobooks Dinos for Kids", there's a whole series of sequel issues. "Zoobooks Zoodinos Tyrannosaurus Rex" (henceforth ZZ) is the 1st sequel issue. In this review, I list the 3 major differences between ZZ & ZD that seem bad, but are actually good.

1) ZZ is for younger kids than ZD (6-12 vs. 9 & up, respectively): This seems bad because it implies that ZZ doesn't do as much as ZD; This seems to be the case when you compare "Meet the Theropods!" ( ) to the theropod part of "Zoobooks: Dinosaurs - Poster" ( ); However, this is actually good because, to paraphrase the Nostalgia Critic ( ), ZZ "had to find new avenues that people wouldn't think of if they had the luxury of" a higher age range; In this case, ZZ has less text, but uses more of it to discuss theropods & what they have in common; Also, ZZ has fewer theropod genera, but does more with them by showing the most extreme examples of theropod diversity doing their thing in their natural environment (as opposed to running around in a vacuum like ZD).

2) ZZ is mostly illustrated by Wilson (as opposed to Hallett like ZD): This seems bad because 1) nostalgia is a powerful thing, & 2) Hallett is "one of the most influential masters of modern dinosaur imagery" ( ); However, this is actually good because 1) variety is the spice of life, & 2) while Hallett's paleoart is better overall, Wilson's is easier on the eyes & thus better for younger kids (Google Books search "Aesthetics A classroom is" for why); Also, while Wilson's ZZ work isn't the best, it's still good & MUCH better than his previous work (E.g. Compare ZZ's cover to that of Brown's "The Day the Dinosaurs Died").

3) 1 definitely-good difference is the organization of ZZ. More specifically, ZZ is a reverse day-in-the-life dino book & thus MUCH better organized than ZD. I like how the science builds up to a day-in-the-life story of "Hungry Tara" that ties all the science together. My only problem with the story is Harren's paleoart (which is better looking but less accurate than Wilson's).*

*E.g. Harren's T.rex is a shameless rip-off of the "Jurassic Park" T.rex.,204,203,200_.jpg

The odd life of a young sparkleraptor ( ): 1/5

If you want the best day-in-the-life dromaeosaur book, get Bakker's "Raptor Pack" & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs" in general & Chapter 20 in particular). As far as I know, Bakker's book gives the best idea of 1) what dromaeosaurs were like when alive, & 2) how we know what we know. I can't say the same about Henry's "RAPTOR: The Life of a Young Deinonychus" (henceforth Life). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) The 1st part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually tells a day-in-the-life story of a dino. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-written. The same goes for Life: Being complete & in-depth is especially important to a day-in-the-life story that covers more than a day ( ); The problem is that Life is anything but, skipping & glossing over many important things in Deinonychus's life (E.g. Everything related to reproduction).

2) 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-illustrated. The same goes for Life: If you think Rey's Deinonychus is ugly, then you'll hate Penney's; The former is at least plausible; The latter isn't even that (E.g. Pronated hands, feathers that look more like bush viper scales, etc); Worse still, the latter is a "Sparkleraptor" ( ); Not only is that misleading, but also hypocritical (Quoting Penney: "Painting dinosaurs in bright colors…makes more sense than thinking that all dinosaurs were either gray or brown, which is how they were painted during the first half of the twentieth century").

3) The 2nd part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually explains the science behind the story. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that they concentrate on the story with only limited emphasis on the science (which doesn't make sense to me given how much science there is behind a given story). The same doesn't go for Life, but only because there's almost no emphasis on the science: There's a map (See the Henry quote) & an artist's note; That's about it. In other words, not only do the dinos not act like dinos, but there's no scientific justification given for how they acted.*

*At best, Life's Deinonychus is more croc-like than dino-like. At worst, Life's Deinonychus is unlike any real animal. In reference to "At best", it's stated that "Deinonychus's mate sits on a buried clutch of eggs", presumably based on croc nest-guarding (Quoting GSPaul: "A female drapes part of her body in irregular poses atop a nest within which her eggs are deeply buried"). In actuality, pennaraptorans in general & Deinonychus in particular brooded their eggs ( ). In reference to "At worst", it's implied that animal packs are competition-based hierarchies, presumably based on "the notions of "alpha wolf" and "alpha dog"" ( ). In actuality, wolf packs are families. The same goes for dino packs (Quoting Orellana/Rojas: "Cooperative hunting is executed by pairs, family groups, or sibling groups, and is generally related to cooperative breeding").
Quoting Henry: "The Cretaceous Period lasted from 146 million years ago until 65 million years ago. This map shows how the landmasses of the planet looked at the time of our story, 100 million years ago. The white outlines denote the modern shapes of the continents as we know them today.
Our story takes place in North America, in the great forest that existed beyond the western shore of the great inland sea called the Niobrara. The fossil remains of several different kinds of dinosaurian raptors...including Deinonychus...have been discovered here."