Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Excavate! Dinosaurs Paper Toy Paleontology by Jon Tennant

The ultimate gift for dinosaur-loving kids ages 7 and up! With fun text and colorful illustrations, paleontologist Jon Tennant explains the anatomy, habitat, and diet of 12 dinosaurs from the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic eras and then provides pop-out pieces of their skeletons for kids to assemble into stand-up paper models. However, the pieces are mixed up! Before the puzzles can be completed, kids must apply their new knowledge about the dinosaurs to figure out which pieces go together. Kids will love the challenge of sorting out which bones belong to which dinosaur -- just like real paleontologists do!
This may not be the best dinosaur book I've ever read, but it's definitely the most fun.

In Excavate! Dinosaurs Paper Toy Paleontology, readers learn more about dinosaurs from the different periods of the mesozoic era. The book features a number of dinosaurs and includes facts about their scientific name, where they were found, and what kind of fossils and bones (complete or incomplete skeletons) were found. The second half of the book features the dinosaur parts that the readers need to assemble to form complete dinosaurs.

Given the amount of space allotted for each dinosaur, the book was able to provide the most important facts about each featured dinosaur. I liked that the place where they were found, as well as what kind of fossils were found were also included, since it helps me get a sense of what kind of climate they lived in, as well as how accurate the complete model probably is. Obviously, with an incomplete skeleton, there's probably some level of inference that was used to figure out the missing pieces, which may or may not be correct.

The paper toy parts at the end had rocks and shells, making it seem more like an actual dig site. It was also arranged from most recent to least recent, like what you would expect when you go through layers of earth. There are also clues included for some of the parts.

Since I received an e-ARC, I don't know how easy it actually is to pop out the parts and assemble the pieces. It does look like fun, though, so even if it takes a little effort, it should be worth it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing, LLC for the e-ARC. Publication date of Excavate! Dinosaurs Paper Toy Paleontology is on October 1, 2014.


  1. It is able to include a lot of facts, given the limited space.
  2. It works as a reference book and an activity book.
  3. The parts are arranged much like you would find at an actual dig site.


  1. The layout, colors and font choice could have been a little bit better.

Reconstructing a complete dinosaur is like doing a 3D puzzle - without a picture.

  1. Your child likes dinosaurs.
  2. You're looking for an activity book for your child.
  3. Your child is interested in becoming a paleontologist.



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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