In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years

In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years

Geologic timelines can get a little overwhelming.  You try to keep all the "scenes" in order but you can't always keep them together.  This gorgeously illustrated book of poems primarily about the dinos of the past, offers a fascinating way to climb the geologic ladder with the sequential eras happily brought to life by an out of this world creature of the past.

Before you open the book, try to visualize what the Earth would have looked like during the Cambrian period from 544-505 million years ago.  Got the picture?  No?  Okay, open the book. The first era you turn to will be the Cambrian and you'll get a beautiful picture of trilobites  (yep, you remember them, right?) and ferns.  There's not a whole lot going on.

Turn the page and you land in the Ordovician Period lasting from 505 to 438 million years ago.  This time period is made vivid with the adorable illustration of an Astraspis floating in a world of bubbles.

A short and whimsical poem accompanies each illustration.  This would be a great read aloud with its super-sized illustrations.

It's a gorgeous walk through time and it all makes so much more sense and becomes more tangible as you meet the amazing creatures who have inhabited our planet in the millions of years before we arrived.  We're living in the Quaternary period.  I wonder what will be next?

The author's note ends with a tease.  "All but one of the animals pictured in the books are extinct."  Up to the challenge?

48 pages    978-0763660734    Ages 3-7

Tone:  Fun

Illustrations are oversized and fabulous images of prehistoric creatures that fascinate young listeners.


Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,



Return to the prehistoric era and discover a host of creatures both novel and familiar, from the mysterious trilobite to the famed T. rex.

Care to meet a dunkleosteus? An apatosaurus? How about the dragonflyesque meganaura? In a collection that’s organized chronologically by epoch and is sure to intrigue everyone from armchair dino enthusiasts to budding paleontologists, David Elliott and Matthew Trueman illuminate some of the most fascinating creatures ever to evolve on the earth. Combining poems both enlightening and artful with illustrations perfect for poring over, this volume ensures fascinating trips back to a time as enthralling and variable as any in our planet’s evolutionary history.


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