Neffy and the feathered dinosaurs by Joe Lillington
Flying Eye Books, 2016. ISBN 9781909263895
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Dinosaurs. A factual picture book, this fascinating look at a young Microraptor, Neffy, as she takes her first flight, will delight both children and any adult who happens to pick it up. Each double page spread of the book is divided into three sections. At the top of the page is the fiction story of Neffy who is just learning to fly. This is illustrated in bold colours and gives the reader a good idea of what the little microraptor would look like. Then there is some information about the dinosaur herself. As the fiction story continues, Neffy has many adventures in her quest to soar into the air. She crashes into a sinosauropteryx, and there is information given about this dinosaur, its weight, size, diet, habitat, family, location and when it lives. This format continues as Neffy encounters a troodon, gallimimus, and many other dinosaurs, all vividly illustrated. Finally she manages to fly and finds the sky is full of other flying creatures.
This makes for a very entertaining and illuminating read. Young children will be very interested in the fiction story of Neffy and will want to cheer her along in her quest to learn how to fly. All children (and adults) will be fascinated by the facts that are given about each dinosaur, especially the little anecdotes about how they were found and what they ate. An example is the deinonychus 'who had a strong curved toe claw to hold down prey and them them alive'. There are many other often amusing and entertaining snippets about the different dinosaurs that will hold the attention of both a reader and a child who is listening to the book being read aloud. All the information is based on what palaeontologists have found out about the dinosaurs from ancient fossils and the book also shows how the scientific evidence changes as more discoveries are made.
At the end of the book there is a double page spread showing the size of different dinosaurs, there is an author's note about how the story is told, and a glossary explains some of the vocabulary used in the book. The end papers show a map of Earth during the Cretaceous period.
The illustrations in bold blacks, dark greens and vivid blues add another dimension to the story and information. The faces of the dinosaurs are fabulous and will certainly engage the reader.
This book is a keeper. Children who are interested in dinosaurs will absolutely love it and parents and teachers will find that it is a wonderful resource for discussion and information.