by Patrick O'Brien
Henry Holt, 2008
review copy compliments of the publisher
Step aside, dinosaurs. Time to pay attention to the kitties.
Sabertooths of some kind or another hunted the Earth from 13 million to 10,000 years ago. The best-known, and the star of this book, was the Smilodon (3 million-10,000 years ago).
O'Brien's painted illustrations vary from full-spread to full-page to multiple panels per page. With the text in boxes that overlap or overlay the illustrations, the book almost has the feel of a nonfiction graphic novel.
You will learn how scientists know what they do about this ancient cat (the fossil record), how all cats evolved from one common ancestor, what scientists don't know about sabertooths (what color their fur was, whether they hunted alone or in cooperation), the prehistoric predators they likely competed with for food, and the food animals they might have hunted.
The book ends on a cautionary note, reminding us that we need to protect the habitats of our modern big cats, or they, too, will go the way of the sabertooths.
The Nonfiction Monday Roundup is at Picture Book of the Day.