Want to look at brilliantly colorful illustrations? Sure! Want to impress people at dinner parties with how much you know about the history of modeling dinosaur bodies from skeletal remnants? You bet!
This Caldecott Honor Book was written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by our favorite, Brian Selznick. The book is the true story of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.
Hawkins was a model maker in the latter 1800’s whose passion was collaborating with the leading scientists of the day to create models of dinosaurs. Hawkins wanted the general public to get a glimpse of the spectacular creatures. Hawkin’s story takes the reader from England to North America and back. It includes a meeting with the king and queen, an important dinner party held inside a model of dinosaur, and a run in with a teamster whose name is still well known today.
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is such a vividly illustrated and quick paced story that I did not realize it was a true one until I was half way through the book. Note to self: real life is often more interesting than fiction.
The book ends with informative illustrations that show how Hawkin’s models have been improved upon in the time since his work laid the foundation for dinosaur skeletal remodeling.
I recommend the story to anyone who enjoys a good story and specifically to dinosaur and history buffs. Though I suppose dinosaur buffs are inherently history buffs (Ba-dum-ba!).