Big Book of Dinosaurs
Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter series. Random House, 2013. ISBN
(Age: 6-12) In this lavishly illustrated book, Robert Irwin has put together a wealth of facts and figures and other fascinating tidbits about his favourite things - dinosaurs. Son of well-known conservationists Steve and Terri Irwin, Robert is continuing their legacy even though he is not yet 10 years old, and that, in itself, is enough to inspire younger readers to look more closely at their surroundings.
This is not an impersonal, all-you-want-to-know-about book, like so many others with a similar title. We start by meeting Robert, who despite his extraordinary circumstances, has had a love of dinosaurs from a very young age - just as many of our young students do - but it is those extraordinary circumstances that have enabled him to pursue that love in a way that our young students cannot and now he shares that with his readers. While his first visit to a dinosaur museum was the Paris Natural History Museum, he recommends others that would be a starting place for others such as The Lark Dinosaur Trackway in Winton in Queensland, and interspersed throughout the book is a travel diary of the world's leading dinosaur museums. For those not able to travel to Paris, London or New York, perhaps the National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra would be more accessible. Wherever, your students start their journey, dinosaurs are a perennial favourite with the young and the 567.9 section is well patronised.
Robert introduces his Top 10 Dinosaurs, none of them not as well-known as those such as Tyrannosaurs Rex, so the reader is introduced to a wider variety of these creatures (including some unique to Australia) through a fascinating description, a fact file and graphics as well as an inset note from Robert. There are also the Dinosaur Hunter Awards and we learn which ones have the longest claws, the most teeth and so on, including the one made most famous by Hollywood.
All in all, this is a great addition to your collection that will appeal not only to those who love the Dinosaur Hunter series but also those who are aspiring to read them as their skills develop. The text is just right for that 6-12 year old market, whether as a read-along, read-aloud or read-alone, with an appealing layout with much to be learned just discussing from the pictures. A must for anyone with dinosaur lovers in their lives, both those who know and those who want to know.