The World of Dinosaurs

While not quite as flashy as a nice pop-up book (of which I have reviewed several examples), life-the-flap books can possess a certain charm of their own as well. In the interest of rounding out my selection of the latter, today’s review covers The World of Dinosaurs, created by and featuring the art of Román García Mora (who illustrated This Chicken is a T-REX!), with text by Cristina Banfi.

The World of Dinosaurs makes good use of its central feature, and gets creative with it at times as well. Even the table of contents utilizes the lift-the-flaps feature, which I thought was fun. Each double-page spread focuses on a different topic, with the various flaps describing different aspects of the subject. Román García Mora’s illustrations are as lovely as ever, and seamlessly translate between the upper and underside of each flap.

Additionally, while the text never explicitly describes the process of what paleoartist Greg Paul refers to as “the rigorous anatomical method”, the illustrated flaps that alternate between skeletal or muscular material and the presumed external appearance of the animal do go a long way in showing rather than telling about this method.

Most pages center around families of dinosaurs, but T. rex gets its own page of course!

This mechanic turns out to be especially useful for interior views that aren’t even externally visible in bare skeletal elements, such as the nasal cavities for crested hadrosaurs like Lambeosaurus. I’d love to see this utilized more in similar children’s books in the future!

My only criticism with this book are a few instances where the text overstates as established fact things that should really be couched in more hypothetical language. While most of the information presented can indeed be verified, even some pertaining to behavior, it rubs me the wrong way when more speculative information is sprinkled in with no indication that it is any different than the rest of it, for example the ceratopsians shown engaging in a “musk ox” style of defending their young, or definitively identifying certain individual variation as male or female traits.

An entire page of Oviraptors!

These instances don’t extend to too much of the book’s content at least, and the details are tertiary enough that they shouldn’t affect its youthful target audience’s core understanding of the main concepts too much. The illustrated flaps are of course the main reason to get it in the first place, and they leave a fantastic impression on readers of any age. I highly recommend The World of Dinosaurs for all young dinosaur enthusiasts, and taken as a whole, I think it earns my Dino Dad Stomp of Approval!

For a few other books that effectively use a “lift the flaps” type gimmick, even if it’s not the central feature of the book, check out my reviews of Dinosaur Atlas, Grand Canyon, Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure, and Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types.

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