Inside: Book review of Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct plus activities: word search, 5 facts sheet, Venn diagram, dinosaur border.
I just finished reading the coolest non-fiction picture book all about dinosaurs and evolution.
Title: Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct – Real Facts About Real Dinosaurs
Author: Drew Sheneman
Publishing: Harper, 2020
Themes: Non-Fiction, Dinosaurs, Evolution
This is the planet Earth a long, long time ago. The planet is teeming with different forms of life, but the biggest and most dominant are the dinosaurs.
This is a simple, light-hearted but factual explanation as to why dinosaurs are actually NOT extinct.
The book opens during the late Jurassic period when huge dinosaurs dominated the planet. It depicts the gigantic asteroid that wiped out all the big guys, and then explains that many smaller dinosaurs survived and gradually evolved into the birds we’re familiar with today.
Sheneman’s text is completely factual (except, of course, for the very funny and numerous comments from the talking dinosaurs and birds) and is illustrated in a colourful, cartoon style. Although he doesn’t shy away from scientific terms the language is still very kid-friendly.
What I Thought:
I really liked this book — a lot! It should appeal to most kids, not just the dinosaur-loving fiends, because it’s amusing AND just so darn interesting.
I bet readers will be surprised and delighted to hear how closely related birds and dinosaurs are. It’s kind of mind-blowing to think of all the little dinosaurs flying around us. We even eat fried dinosaurs! And dinosaurs poop on our cars!
Sheneman does an excellent job of interspersing the factual information with funny quips by the various animals. For example, a ceratopsian (dinos with the frilly head armour) says, “I could put marshmallows on my horns, but they don’t exist yet.” When a therapod watches the approaching asteroid and quietly remarks, “That can’t be good” I just started giggling.
If you’re teaching about dinosaurs or birds you need this book! In fact, it would even be suitable for Grade 4-6 students working on research projects.
In the Classroom:
1. Review the terms fiction and non-fiction with your students. Show them the cover and inside of the book. Ask, “Do you think this is a fiction or non-fiction book? Explain why.” It’s a bit hard to tell at first glance because of the cartoon style of illustrations and the talking animals. Talk about it and encourage the kids to justify their thinking. Then read to confirm.
2. Comparing dinosaurs with birds is an obvious activity as Sheneman does a bit of this himself in the book. This is easy to do with a Venn Diagram (download below).
3. Complete a 5 Amazing Facts sheet (download below). This book has so much interesting information that I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard. I’ve included a sheet with a dinosaur border so that your students can colour their own pictures.
4. Complete a Word Search with words from the book (download below) Review the vocabulary with your class first. This is is a good activity for Grade 2 and 3 but from my experience most Grade 1’s are up to the challenge. I always used to let my first graders work in pairs or little groups if they found a word search hard. It was fun to hear their chatter and listen to their excitement when they found a new word.
5. Be sure to visit That Artist Woman. She has a fabulous dinosaur art project using paint and black silhouettes. The paintings look like a scene from right before the asteroid hits Earth.
DOWNLOAD: DINOSAURS ARE NOT EXTINCT RESOURCE PACK
About the Author:
Drew Sheneman is the editorial cartoonist for The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J. He’s also written several other children’s books. His latest, The Goldilocks Zone, is another funny non-fiction book all about outer space and will be released in November 2021.