Check it out: Encyclopedia offers nuts and bolts of prehistoric creatures



I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more dinosaur books written for adults. Just because a person has a mortgage doesn’t mean Tyrannosaurus rex is any less interesting. If you’ve secretly been reading your child’s pop-up dinosaur book, get ready to cheer because this week’s title has everything your inner paleontologist loves.

While the word “beautiful” may not come to mind when describing velociraptors and pterodactyls, it is the perfect word to describe “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures.” Each creature, whether it’s a jawless fish, a snout horse or a T-rex, receives a detailed, full-color painting. More than 600 species are included, which means plenty of eye candy for enthusiasts of prehistoric life.

In case it sounds like this book has nothing but illustrations, I should mention that experts in the fields of biology, geology, paleontology and zoology contributed “biographies” for each species. What I really appreciate about the writing is that it’s very informative without being too academic.

You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of each species such as the suborders, infraorders, families and divisions. But you’ll also learn that the T-rex could easily have broken its skull if it had fallen while running (tiny forearms meant no way to break the fall).

Then there’s the Deinosuchus, a giant crocodile. Not much is known about this Cretaceous period denizen, but when a 6-foot, 6-inch skull was unearthed and scientists speculate the reptile measured nearly 50 feet in length, it’s understandable that creature’s name means “terrible crocodile.”

Plus there are rodents with horns, tortoises with armored tails, marsupial cats, bear-dogs, and much, much more.

I hope you enjoy reading about earth’s earliest inhabitants in this fascinating book.

Just remember to return that pop-up book to your little one.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at She blogs at