Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THESE BOOKS ROCK: Review of LIVING FOSSILS by Sue Smith-Heavenrich

The following review of my book LIVING FOSSILS, Clues to the Past by Sue Smith-Heavenrich appeared in her column, "Alexander’s Library", in the summer 2016 Ithaca Child. I can tell that the reviewer has had a lifelong fascination with fossils, just as I have!

Sue Smith-Heavenrich writes:
My favorite book when I was a kid was my dad’s geology text. I spent hours poring over photos of fossils, losing myself in the geological time scale, sounding out “Carboniferous” and “Silurian”. So I’m always happy when I find great books about rocks for kids.

Living Fossils: Clues to the Past
    When you think of fossils, you might think of dinosaur bones or trilobites...something preserved in rock. Something prehistoric. Extinct. But what if some of those ancient creatures still lived among us? Would we recognize them?
    Caroline Arnold shows us six amazing creatures that closely resemble their ancient relatives–“living fossils”. Comparing “then” to “now” she shows where these creatures live, how they survived, and what their future looks like. Take, for example, horseshoe crabs. One hundred fifty million years ago, horseshoe crabs had hard shells and long tails. They crawled up on sandy beaches to search for worms and shellfish to eat. Not much has changed. If you visit the east coast on a warm summer night when the moon shines full, you’re likely to see hundreds of horseshoe crabs pull themselves up onto the beach. They’re digging nests and laying eggs, just like they did millions of years ago.
    You don’t need to travel to the beach to find living fossils; just head to a wetland or hayfield on a warm day and look for dragonflies. Those keen mosquito-devouring hunters are the great-great-great-.....great-grandchildren of dragonflies that lived 280 million years ago. Over the years things changed, like size. Back then dragonflies were larger–the size of a crow. (Charlesbridge, 2016; ages 7-10)


The other books reviewed in the same article are:
Explore Fossils! With 25 Great Projects by Candace L. Brown and Grace Brown (Nomad, 2016; ages 7-10)
Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals by Nancy Honovich (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2016; ages 7-12)
A Rock Can Be by Laurie Purdie Salas (Millbrook Press, 2015; ages 4-7)

This review also appears in Sue Smith-Heavenrich's June 24, 2016 blogpost at Archimedes Notebook, a terrific website that focuses on hands-on science exploration for children and their parents.

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