Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review of LIVING FOSSILS in Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I was pleased to receive this very nice review of my book LIVING FOSSILS: Clues to the Past in the August 3rd issue of Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews.

Living Fossils: Clues to the Past

Caroline Arnold
Illustrator:  Andrew Plant
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Charlesbridge, 2016   ISBN: 978-1580896917
 Many of us have seen fossils in museums; the trilobites and other insect-like creatures, and the dinosaurs, both small and large. For the most part these animals looking nothing like any animal that is alive today. They went extinct long ago and their very distant modern-day relatives are quite different.

However, there are a few animal species living in the present day that are very similar to their ancient relatives. Their kind survived extinction events and climate change, and they have even survived the assent of mammals. These animals are often called living fossils, and in this book readers will meet a few of these singular creatures.

Perhaps one of the most famous living fossils is the coelacanth. Before the 1930’s scientists thought that this large, marine, lobed-tailed fish had died out sixty-five million years ago. Then a fisherman found a coelacanth in the Indian Ocean and the scientific community went wild speculating about how this animal had survived for so long.

Another species that has remained remarkably unchanged is the horseshoe crab. This animal lived on Earth a hundred million years ago, and it still lives here in the present day.

Many of us will probably never see a live coelacanth or horseshoe crab, but there is one living fossil that most of us are familiar with because they are found all around the world. Two hundred and eighty million years ago large crow-sized dragonflies zipped around marshes preying on smaller insects and other animals. Dragonflies today are a lot smaller, but they still favor environments where there is water, and they are still predators.

Young readers who are interested in fossils and in creatures that lived long ago are going to thoroughly enjoy this book. Readers are shown what six ancient animal species looked like and then they are shown their modern-day counterparts. In addition to telling us about these animals, the text also explains how fossils are formed and how living fossils provide scientists with “clues to the past.”

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