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Paleontology Books for Kids

Here is a short list of paleontology books to help kids develop their interest in science:

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland (ages 6 to 9)

By following a Diplodocus from its discovery to its eventual display in the Smithsonian Institution, Hartland has created a lovely tribute to all of the people who help to make a museum’s dinosaur exhibit possible.

“Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled” by Catherine Thimmesh, 58 pages, ages 9 to 12.

When you see a drawing or a model of a dinosaur, or watch one running around in the movies, do you wonder how anybody knows what they look like? After all, no one has seen a living dinosaur.

This book explains how paleo-scientists and paleo-artists (“paleo” means “ancient”) work together to re-create dinosaurs. For 100 years, they have used fossils to help figure out muscles, skin and even expressions. As scientific discoveries have been made, the models have changed. (Deinonychus replicas once were scaly; now they have feathers.) Scientific tests may one day reveal what a dinosaur’s coloring was, but for now artists have to use their imagination to determine how these Jurassic giants looked.

Dinosaur Valley. Mitsushiro Kurokawa. Chronicle Books (1997).

Recreates the behavior and life cycles of several different kinds of dinosaurs. Uses a terrific fold-out of a dinosaur excavation that gives children an accurate idea of the work of paleontologists.

Fossils Tell of Long Ago. Aliki. HarperTrophy (1990).

The imprint of an ancient leaf in a rock, the skeleton of a stegosaurus, or any object that has been preserved can tell us about life on Earth millions of years ago – every one is a fossil. Aliki discusses fossils that can be seen by children in museums.

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