Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters Book Poster Image
Stunning paper-art makes nonfiction pop.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this pop-up book is a work of art sure to fascinate most kids, but it's too delicate for rough handling. Because sometimes scary-looking animals literally leap out of the page, young kids might want to take a look at this from the safety of a parent's lap.

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What's the story?

A detailed pop-up encyclopedia of prehistoric sea life, this non-fiction book is more than a novelty. The research and reporting meets the high standards set by the book's incredible paper engineering.

Is it any good?

The illustrations in the book are literally eye-popping. Complex paper sculptures leap out from the center of each two-page spread, unfolding as the reader leafs through the book. Don't be fooled by the reported 12 pages -- the corners of each page have miniature books with smaller pop-ups with more detailed information. The result is a true encyclopedic take on prehistoric sea creatures that lives up to the high standard set by the illustrations.

The text is dry, as befits its scientific subject, and is likely to keep the attention of only the most devoted fans of prehistoric creatures. Happily, with 3-D illustrations as enticing as these, the Paleozoic era is likely to win some new enthusiasts. Even if they skip the bulk of the text, kids are likely to learn something just by spending time examining the intricate paper engineering.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the artistry of the book -- how do the paper engineers put it all together? They may want to try to make their own moving paper sculptures. Parents can use this book to talk about how modern-day animals are similar or dissimilar to their ancient relatives.

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