“Bizarre Dinosaurs: Some Very Strange Creatures and Why We Think They Got That Way” by Christopher Sloan

Christopher Sloan’s Bizarre Dinosaurs: Some Very Strange Creatures and Why We Think They Got That Way published by the National Geographic Society in 2008 is a great book for kids.

Sloan is a paleontology expert and senior editor for National Geographic magazine and I noticed some of the information was written from his point of view when he was with the paleontologist who found the dinosaurs that are featured in the book. Drs James Clark and Cathy Forster also wrote a foreword for the book, they are paleontologists who not only discovered some of these dinosaurs but also teach at George Washington University.

This 32-page book comes with Table of Contents, a Foreword, Glossary, a breakdown of where some of the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and an Index and Credits page.

The pictures are computer graphics created by artists with the help of scientists.

Each of the 11 dinosaurs get a two page spread with a computer generated picture and a picture of the fossils found of them plus information gathered and questions raised about the animals; it also comes an Expert Knowledge portion stating the name, pronunciation, year named, type of dinosaur, normal adult size, stomping ground, when it lived and what it ate. There is also a graphic of how big the dinosaur was in relation to an average sized man.

The illustrations are the main part of the book to me because I can see what the dinosaur probably looked like back then. The writing is simple and chocked full of information for kids to learn and questions the scientists couldn’t answer.

I think my favorite dinosaur is the Dracorex hogwartsia, meaning “dragon king of Hogwarts”. This plant eating dinosaur had “helmetlike bony domes on their head” making it look like a dragon.

A great reference for kids to use on a school project and to learn more about the ever changing landscape of paleontology.

“School Daze”

ImageMy last two classes in Pace University Masters of Science in Publishing Program start this week.  I am very excited, not only to be almost finished with my degree but the start of school.

I, like millions of kids, look forward to first day of school. I love the possibility it brings. The possibility to make new friends, wear a new outfit, use brand new school supplies and hopefully be the best student the teacher has ever seen.  That last one never happened for me when I was younger but as an adult student I like to think I bowl the teacher over with my amazing insight and knowledge.

To me it’s like that first spring day where you go outside, take a deep breath and you feel refreshed, renewed and hopeful. No bad things have happened (such as you embarrass yourself so badly you decide to convince your parents that homeschooling is the best way to go), you only have good intentions and a fantasy of how the day will progress.

By the time I was in high school not one first day of school had gone the way I had planned or wanted, but they were made better if my best friend Jennifer was in my class. In college I wasn’t sure what to expect but I always left each and every class feeling inspired.

Now in graduate school I take my classes on line so I can work and this semester I have a 25 page thesis to write, one class, two internships, and hopefully a third job so I can pay bills. I plan on getting ahead of the curve and finish assignments early every week.

Let’s hope I can do it.

How did the first day of school make you feel? Share your experiences.