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Mammoths and Mastodons

by Cheryl Bardoe

School Library Journal Gr 5-7-Mammoths tend to get a lot of press, while their mastodon cousins accumulate footnotes, so it's nice to see mastodon getting second-banana billing in this attractive look at Ice Age favorites. Bardoe begins with the discovery of a marvelously preserved infant mammoth in Northern Siberia and goes on to discuss anatomy (comparing mastodon tusks and teeth, for example) and to postulate on probable Proboscidan behaviors based on fossil finds and extrapolation of modern elephant lifestyles. The readable text includes two fictional scenarios for fossils being found where they were (e.g., a young bull trapped in a steeper-than-expected water hole) and is nicely larded with interesting information boxes on such topics as "Treasures from the Permafrost." Excellent color photos and competent artwork lend visual interest, as does a Proboscidan "family tree" and a pair of maps (one of which, on Ice Age boundaries, may prove a tad confusing due to overlaps). Team this with Sandra Markle's dramatic Outside and Inside Woolly Mammoths (Walker, 2007) or Windsor Charlton's investigation of the Jarkov mammoth in Woolly Mammoth: Life, Death, and Rediscovery (Scholastic, 2001) for a grand view of an Ice Age icon. Eye-catching and informative.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This well-designed book opens with two boys finding a strange animal dead on the arctic tundra. Their father hikes four days to a village where the news can be spread; then scientists take away the frozen baby mammoth, the first example found intact, and study it intensively. The book intersperses accounts of the scientists' research and deductions with general information about mammoths and mastodons as well as imagined scenes taking place when they walked the earth. Bardoe draws connections between these Ice Age proboscideans and their modern cousin, the elephant. Back matter includes a glossary and a brief Select References section listing three scientists interviewed by the author and three books on mammoths, two of them for children. The book's large format and heavy paper show off the color illustrations well. Besides maps and charts, there are many photos of scientists at work and artists' depictions of mammoths, from today's paintings to prehistoric cave drawings. A handsome introduction.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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