Prehistoric America: Who Are You Calling a Woolly Mammoth?
by Elizabeth Levy
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-A woolly mammoth (with earmuffs and neck warmer on the front cover and a red velvet bow on its tail on the back) sets the tone for this book. Levy surrounds readers with jokes, asides, and lively banter while presenting a chronological and systematic account of the evolution of prehistoric life from 250 million to 6 million years ago. A glib cockroach guides readers through a clear explanation of the split of the continent Pangaea, of the development of dinosaurs from the diminutive size of a chicken to that of a six-story building, and of the extinction of prehistoric creatures. Then, starting 65 million years ago, the author explains how the atmosphere and sun began to influence a change in North America, making it a rain forest. In this environment, mammalian life evolved and the continents continued to move. Levy explains why the rain forests receded and the woolly mammoth and nine other mammals flourished during this cold period, the ice age. The last section describes evolution of humans to 6000 years ago when the larger ice-age mammals became extinct. Wound around these explanations are slapstick line drawings that are on an even par with continual wisecracks in the text. This overview will satiate the high interest many young people have about prehistoric times and will appeal to reluctant readers.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist, February 15, 2002, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.:
Gr. 4-6. This entry in the America's Horrible Histories series uses humor to make facts about prehistoric animal life more memorable, and to some degree, the tactic works. Kids will enjoy the tidbits Levy has packed into her highly selective history--she sweeps briskly across 250 million years of landscape! They will also get a sense of the massive changes that occurred, if only enough to whet their appetites for more. Unfortunately, the format is cramped, and the asides are sometimes more forced than funny; ditto the rather slapdash cartoon art. It's the facts that save the day--whether information about dinosaur extinction, the ice age, fossils, or the cat's prehistoric relatives--and the idea that history need not always be as dry as the Gobi Desert. There are no notes or sources, so consider this a just-for-fun read.
¾: Stephanie Zvirin.: