This Chicken Is a T-Rex!: The Great Big Book of Animal Evolution

While the text of This Chicken Is a T-Rex! is thorough, it is the intricately detailed illustrations by Román García Mora that will keep children returning to its double-page spreads.

Each spread focuses on the evolution of a specific type of animal ("The Origin of Birds") or an animal feature ("A brief history of the very useful trunk!"). For each topic, there is a block of comprehensive text and several paintings of the different evolutionary stages of related animals, captioned with more information. Accompanying stencil-like images of children, adults and occasional modern animals show scale in a very accessible manner.

On many spreads, there are additional explanatory diagrams, usually sketches of skulls and bone formations. For example, the first spread introduces the T-Rex's relationship to the modern-day chicken, linking dinosaurs and birds: "What is the proof? It seems to be a protein found in the fossils of the bones... [that is] found today in birds and not found in reptiles." The T-Rex is pictured in all its glory, a green outline of a girl under its large mouth and small chickens pecking along the ground. There is an occasional awkward sentence in this translation from the Italian, but the prehistoric animals that stride across its pages will attract everyone's attention. Ancestors of today's dragonflies, elephants, whales, wombats and armadillos will provide endless hours of scientific wonderment for the curious reader. --Melinda Greenblatt, freelance book reviewer

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