Monday, September 18, 2017

My 20th 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 great 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":
-"My 18th Pair of Reviews":
-"My 19th Pair of Reviews":,204,203,200_.jpg

My NEW favorite serious dino book ( ): 5/5

As you may remember, Gardom/Milner's "The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs" WAS my favorite serious dino book ( ). However, Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved" (henceforth DH) is my NEW favorite. Thus, DH is now my go-to natural history of dinos. There are 2 main reasons for why that is: 1) DH is very comprehensive; This is especially apparent in Chapters 5-6 (which not only cover "the origin of birds" like Chapter 10 of Gardom/Milner's book, but also birds "beyond the Cretaceous"); 2) DH is very well-illustrated; In addition to Sibbick (who illustrated Gardom/Milner's book), DH is illustrated by Bonadonna, Conway, Csotonyi, Kn├╝ppe, Nicholls, Willoughby, & Witton. My only nit-picks are the cover art (which, while not the worst, neither reflects the interior art nor compares to the cover art of Gardom/Milner's book) & the lack of focus on the museum website (although the museum logo should be enough to show readers where to go for more info). Otherwise, these 2 books are very similar (E.g. Compare the quotes at the end of this review). 2 more things of note: 1) Contra what Publishers Weekly says, the "chapter on dinosaur cladistics" is 1 of the highlights of DH; Each section reads like a mini-story of how that sub-group evolved; 2) For whatever reason, Amazon doesn't do Listmania! anymore; If it did, DH would be right under Pickrell's "Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds" on "My Serious Dino Books" ( ).
"For 160 million years, dinosaurs were the most successful and diverse creatures to dominate the Earth. This book is based on the world-famous fossil collections and permanent “Dinosaurs” exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum. Written by two experts from one of the world’s leading Paleontology departments, this book features hundreds of color photos and illustrations that reveal the astonishing variety of life that proliferated in the Mesozoic Era—the Age of Dinosaurs. Tim Gardom has researched several major exhibitions, including The Natural History Museum’s acclaimed “Dinosaurs.” Angela Milner is Head of Fossil Vertebrates at The Natural History Museum" ( ). 
"From the Victorian golden age of dinosaur discovery to the cutting edge of twenty-first century fossil forensics 'Dinosaurs' unravels the mysteries of the most spectacular group of animals our planet has ever seen. Despite facing drastic climatic conditions including violent volcanic activity, searing temperatures and rising and plunging sea levels, the dinosaurs formed an evolutionary dynasty that ruled the Earth for more than 150 million years.Darren Naish and Paul Barrett reveal the latest scientific findings about dinosaur anatomy, behaviour, and evolution. They also demonstrate how dinosaurs survived the great extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period and continued to evolve and thrive alongside us, existing today as an incredibly diverse array of birds that are the direct descendants of theropods. 'Dinosaurs' is lavishly illustrated with specimens from the Natural History Museum's own collections, along with explanatory diagrams and charts and full-colour artistic reconstructions of dinosaur behaviour" ( ).

The worst dino museum in book form ( ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best dino museum book for older kids, get Abramson et al.'s "Inside Dinosaurs". If you want the best dino museum books for younger kids, get Aliki's dino books & read them in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs").* Green's "The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History" (henceforth Museum #2) may be the worst children's dino museum book I've ever read.

Long version: Read on.

TripAdvisor Reviewers say that The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester (henceforth Museum #1) is "the worst dinosaur museum", & based on their reviews & photos, I'm inclined to agree ( ). In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why Museum #2 is similarly bad or worse while using "The Meat-Eaters" as the main example (See the back cover).

1) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is lacking in real fossils & full of bad reconstructions: In reference to fossils, each chapter has 1 or 2 at most & only some of them are real (E.g. "The Meat-Eaters" has a replica Velociraptor claw & a real T.rex tooth); In reference to reconstructions, each chapter has at least 3 or 4 & they're shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. The Iguanodon on the front cover is a shameless rip-off of the "Walking With Dinosaurs" Iguanodon), just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. The T.rex has pronated hands; Both of the Giganotosaurus are unrecognizable as such), or some combination of both (E.g. The Velociraptor is a shameless rip-off of the "Jurassic Park" Velociraptor with pronated hands & feathers that look more like yellow grass).

2) Like Museum #1's text, Museum #2's is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. In "The Meat-Eaters", it's claimed that Velociraptor "charged after prey at up to 40 miles...per hour" (More like 24 mph), T.rex's "tiny front limbs may have helped it to stand up after lying down" (They didn't), "T.rex teeth had serrated...edges that could cut through flesh like steak knives" (They couldn't), & Giganotosaurus was 3 m high (More like 4 m high).

3) Like Museum #1's writing, Museum #2's is annoyingly vague. In fact, Museum #2's is even worse in that it's also annoyingly hyperbolic (E.g. See the Green quote for both vagueness & hyperbole) & repetitive (E.g. The word "terrify" is used 3 times in "The Meat-Eaters" alone).

4) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is poorly-organized. Not only are the dino chapters scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason, but so are the dinos within each chapter. This is especially apparent in "The Meat-Eaters" (which features Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus, & T.rex) & "Small but Deadly" (which features Oviraptor, Troodon, Deinonychus, Coelophysis, & Compsognathus). Not only are the theropod chapters separated by ornithischian & sauropod chapters, but the theropods within each chapter are almost completely random. In other words, nothing in Museum #2 makes any chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense.**

*In reference to "Aliki's dino books", google "".

**In reference to "chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense", google "DINOSOURS! on tumblr. - Framing Fossil Exhibits - Framing".
Quoting Green: "Giganotosaurus
Monster-size Giganotosaurus was probably even larger than T.rex. Its enormous jaws opened more than wide-enough to swallow you! Most likely it lunged at victims and took great bites of flesh with its sharp teeth. One twist of its sturdy neck could have ripped its victim limb from limb."