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Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep Hardcover – Import, 11 Sep 2018
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About the Author
Brenda Gurr is the author of numerous educational books and articles for children of all ages. Her fiction work covers chapter books, stories and plays, and she has written non-fiction material in areas such as English, history, and mathematics. She has a background in elementary teaching and qualifications in English, Editing, Drama and Education.
R.J. Palmer is an artist and illustrator from California, based in Burbank. He specializes in creature design for film and video games and his art has been featured the world over.
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My favourite facts were:
“T. rex weighed about the same as an African male elephant. But experts think that Megalodon might have weighed about the same as ten elephants!”
“Dunkleosteus had an impressive skill. It could open and close its enormous jaws in a fraction of a second. This was so fast that it created a vacuum that pulled its prey (along with plenty of water) into its mouth.”
“Its eyes are thought to be the largest eyes of any animal - ever. They were almost the size of dinner plates!” [this quote is about Temnodontosaurus]
“Kronosaurus [KRONE-oh-SAWR-us] is a pliosaur named after Kronos, a thoroughly nasty Greek god who swallowed all of his children. (Don’t worry, they turned out fine.)”
“Like a snake, Tylosaurus had a double-hinged jaw.”
“The name Livyatan comes from the Hebrew spelling of Leviathan, a biblical sea monster.”
“Its neck was about three to four times the length of an adult giraffe’s! It made up about half of its body length and contained more than seventy bones.” [this quote is about Elasmosaurus who looks suspiciously liked the Loch Ness monster but apparently isn’t]
I liked the conversational tone of the writing and the comparisons made between animals or objects kids would recognise and the size and weight of the prehistoric creatures described in the book. The length of each animal is illustrated against a coast guard lifeboat. Similar books I’ve read have compared animals to the height of an average adult; as a kid I would have found it easier to imagine an animal’s size if I was using a person as the comparison rather than a boat. Even now I appreciated the pronunciation help for some of the more unusual names.
The illustrations are detailed and the layout is interesting and varied. Photos are also used where possible to show fossils and animals children will be familiar with. A lot of the illustrations feature animals about to eat other animals or engaged in fights, which may be scary for some readers. Occasionally the white writing was difficult to read when it was against a pale background but I read this ARC on an iPad so this may have been fixed prior to publication.
I imagine I would have gotten a good grade if I’d used this book to research a school project and it’s the type of book I would still borrow from the library because you can never know enough cool facts about Megalodon and its meals. I definitely need to check out the Megalodon skeleton that comes with this book (instructions for assembling it are included - whew!).
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group - becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.
In addition there is an intro about the geological periods in question and a glossary at the end. Overall, the book is surprisingly informative given the space set aside for the illustrations. The critters are compared in illustration to a Coast Guard ship, which helps set the scale for the reader.
Should be a good read for the target 8-12 year old who likes things that chomp.
I received a copy for review from the publisher, but will likely order copies as gifts.
The illustrations are super terrific!!! They are so life like and that makes the book even better! I do plan on getting this book! I never really grew up ;)