In The Past

I’ve featured plenty of books here before with rhyming prose (I Am NOT a Dinosaur! being one of my favorites), but never yet one meant explicitly as “poetry”, though Dinosaur Feathers may sit somewhere on the fence, there. In The Past is my first foray into this somewhat more limited field, though it is by no means the only one out there. There are currently a couple that I know of offhand, including one by Diane Ramic (creator of The Coloring Book of (Scientifically Accurate) Paleofauna), and I’m sure that list will expand as I find more.

Before I get to far into my review, I’ll be up-front and admit I may not be the best person to do this, cretin that I am. While I enjoy things that could be described as “poetic” (“poetic justice”, etc.), I confess I am one of those brutes who tends to think of actual poems as songs that somebody neglected to write the music for. I am even more a lost cause with more avant-garde works, as even the poetry in this book with irregular meter and rhymes drove me a little crazy.

I want to give a lot of leeway for caricatures, but these dinos really don’t do it for me.

However ill-suited I may be to the task though, I did still enjoy the writing here as far as someone like me is able, and hopefully my review will inspire someone better qualified to pick up the slack, so to speak. The poems describe a range of animals from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic, and describe their subjects with a certain wit and charm that is plenty disarming.

This Yutyrannus looks quite nice in contrast to the other dinosaurs, even if it does seem to very closely follow the Safari Ltd. model

The illustrations are done in an interesting mixed-media style: I’m pretty sure actual pressed leaves were used in some of the backgrounds. The creatures represented tend to be slightly exaggerated in an almost boardwalk-sketch-artist design, particularly with some of the more familiar animals. I’m not sure that it entirely works for some of them, unfortunately. The Smilodon and most of the dinosaurs end up just looking rather odd, even somewhat ugly in some cases. This is only highlighted by the majority of creatures that actually end up looking rather nice in this style, as it makes the art feel internally inconsistent, to a certain extent.

See, I adore this giant ground sloth, which I think should demonstrate I’m not looking for 100% accuracy… I just think that perhaps Smilodon shouldn’t look like a Half Life barnacle

In The Past makes for great read-aloud material for kids, and the majority of illustrations are genuinely nice for the most part. I don’t think I can quite give it my full Stomp of Approval, but I recommend checking it out if it’s available near you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s