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Dinosaurs Of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley
Cover Artist: Brian Selznick
Review by Gayle Surrette
Scholastic Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780439114950
Date: 01 March 2009 List Price $8.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: B. Waterhouse Hawkins Website / Show Official Info /

Most children at some point get fascinated by dinosaurs. If they're lucky they may even get to a museum to see a model of one or more types of dinosaurs. I was an adult before I saw my first full-sized model. It was B. Waterhouse Watson who first brought dinosaurs to life by using his skills as an artist, scientist, and naturalist, to create models of these creatures, sometimes with nothing more than a single bone or fragment.

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is the story of the life and times of Waterhouse Hawkins who was born in 1807 and died in 1894.

I'd never heard of Waterhouse Hawkins or his work during my own childhood fascination with dinosaurs, or even with my continued interest as an adult. However, when we reached the part of the book that talked about Hawkins arranging a dinner party within his model of an iguanodon, that stirred an old memory I'd completely forgotten about. My husband even remembered seeing a photo of the party in one of his childhood books.

While many of us may have marveled as his work, or the works of others spawned by his example, you may not have heard of him. I was surprised to find from Barbara Kerley's author's notes that Waterhouse Hawkins illustrated Charles Darwin's The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle. He created dinosaur models for the Crystal Palace's water park. He was supposed to create some model's for New York's Central Park until he ran afoul of Boss Tweed.

This is the perfect book for a young person who is interested in dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is beautifully illustrated and simply told -- hitting the highlights of his life and work. There's a list of references used by the author and artist. The end papers of the book are based on the invitation to that dinner in the iguanodon, including the menu (but, unfortunately, no recipes).

Any young reader with a drive to learn more about dinosaurs will be interested in learning more about this amazing man and his work. The author's note and illustrator's note are also very interesting. This is a book that is entertaining and informative for readers of all ages.

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