Ankylosaur attack!

By Phil Plait | October 24, 2011 12:39 pm

When I was a kid, I was so into dinosaurs that I wanted to be a paleontologist. Eventually, astronomy won out, but it was touch-and-go there for a while (my compromise: study giant impacts that wiped out the dinosaurs).

When I was that age, my dad used to make tape recordings and send them to relatives instead of written letters, so that family members could hear the voices of the kids. I remember quite specifically one day picking a description about the ankylosaur for my part of the "letter". I talked about its clubbed tail, and how it used that weapon to fend off ravenous carnivores.

So back when I was 5 I would’ve loved to have had a book like my friend Daniel Loxton’s new work, Ankylosaur Attack. It’s a great, lavishly-illustrated hardcover for kids about the day in the life of a young dinosaur: feeding, watching pterosaurs, meeting up with other ankylosaurs, and then, of course, the T. Rex attack!

Daniel is an artist, so the book is illustrated with amazing photo-realistic images of the creatures, which I’m sure will get any dinosaur-enthusiast kid’s heart pumping. The story itself is based on current thinking in paleontological circles about dinosaur behavior, and it presents dinosaurs not as giant monsters but as inhabitants of the same world in which we live, just way back in the past.

Daniel’s last book, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, was fantastic, so I’m not surprised this one is so good, too.

It’s available on Amazon.com of course, and would make a great present for the holidays coming up. Thanksgiving is a traditional family get-together time in the US, so I’m sure there are kids who would love to get a copy of this and read it with the grandparents. Just a hint there.

You can follow Daniel on Twitter, or read his articles on SkepticBlog (where he’s written a few about what went into making the book).

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff

Comments (25)

  1. And that would be fitting with the Thanksgiving-day tradition of consuming small cursorial theropods, too.

  2. BJ Kramer

    Daniel’s previous book’s exact title is “Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be”

    http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-How-Living-Things-Came/dp/1554534305/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319483879&sr=1-2

    It is, indeed, excellent.

  3. Chris

    Too bad you didn’t write a book that I could give as a gift.

  4. Ian

    Fun fact: 7 out of 10 men know the Ankylosaurus to be the most badass of dinosaurs. I’ve yet to meet a girl who has even heard of them, but when I do, we shall be married.

  5. AbrashTX

    Ankylosaur Attack got the seal of approval from my 4-yr-old nephew. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a Halloween book because it’s “spooky.”

  6. highnumber

    I will also vouch for Evolution being an excellent book.

  7. highnumber

    I will also vouch for Evolution being an excellent book.

  8. Cindy

    #4 Ian,

    My 7 year old daughter knows about Ankylosaurus, because one of her favorite TV shows is “Dinosaur Train”. We also got the “How do Dinosaurs…” series of books for her and her younger brother.

    Phil, thanks for the heads up about the book. I think I have a suggestion for Xmas present for my kids to give to the grandparents.

  9. QuietDesperation

    I keep picturing a little tiny dinosaur that nips at my ankles.

    That font on the cover makes it look like a DVD of an obscure Irwin Allen production.

  10. artbot
  11. Ankylosaurs are VERY popular with my little paleontologist too. (Who just so happens to be a GIRL.) This must go in her stocking. She would prefer a book dedicated to Utahraptors, but we’ll take what we can get.

    Here’s my girl going on and on and on about the fossils at our local museum–

    http://cartersville.patch.com/articles/no-bones-about-it-4492bd2d#video-8186964

  12. ThirtyFiveUp

    Not unique to my family, but my children learned to read because of the dinosaur books, they focused on the wonderful names and were so proud to be able to recognize and pronounce them.

    Reading words like “go” and “run” came later.

  13. Joseph G

    @#9 QD: Hah! I keep picturing that club breaking other dinosaurs’ ankles. I guess that’s not too far from the truth, actually – looks like that tail is about ankle-level on a T-Rex. I wonder if the awkward upward tail bend in that illustration is necessary? Break a bipedal dino’s leg and they’re as good as dead, I’d think.

  14. Joseph G

    When I was little I was also crazy about both dinosaurs and space. I wonder if theres a connection between the two?
    Or maybe you’d have to be nuts NOT to find these things fascinating, and most of us simply become somewhat insane as adults :)

  15. Joseph G

    The funny thing is, if Phil HAD become a paleontologist, he STILL could have written a book called “Death From the Skies”. Just replace the people pictured on the cover with dinosaurs, even ;)

    Also, I wonder if those childhood tapes that Phil made survived, maybe in some attic somewhere? They sound positively adorable :D

  16. @Cindy,

    My kids love Dinosaur Train too. (Hank Ankylosaurus!) They’re also fans of Dino Dan over on Nick Jr. So they get a double dose of dinosaurs.

  17. Nigel Depledge

    Looks good.

    I, too, used to be obsessed with dinosaurs and space (hey, why are there no TV shows about dinosaurs in space?). When I was about 7, I thought this was an Anklyosaur. I didn’t get the pronunciation right until – er – a few years later.

  18. @ ^ Nigel Depledge : Well Transformers did have a whole “dinobot” sub-series & set of characters that included a robotic T-Rex coming from space.

    Plus Anne McAffery (spelling?) has written a ‘Dinosaur planet’ SF novel (& sequel) as well with other’s probably doing this too.

    Then there’s one ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ strip I recall where Calvin had T-Rexes attacking in fighter jets. ;-)

    @13. Joseph G :

    @#9 QD: Hah! I keep picturing that club breaking other dinosaurs’ ankles. I guess that’s not too far from the truth, actually – looks like that tail is about ankle-level on a T-Rex. I wonder if the awkward upward tail bend in that illustration is necessary? Break a bipedal dino’s leg and they’re as good as dead, I’d think.

    Yep. Did you miss out on seeing the Walking with Dinosaurs series?

    Click on my name for their idea of a T-Rex (& her two young) encountering an ankylosaur & see which comes off worse.

    (Surprised no-one’s posted this already – ‘spose there’s likely one awaiting moderation that’ll turn up here afterwards and beat me too it post-actively. Oh well.)

    Fond memories of dinosaur books and toys here too – my first childhood science obsesson. :-)

    (I remember my ankylosaurs having spines sticking out their sides though. What happened to that there?)

    As for finding a connection between space and dinosaurs there’s certainly rather a big one – hint : Chicxulub crater! ;-)

    @3. Chris : “Too bad you didn’t write a book that I could give as a gift.”

    Phil Plait hasn’t written *a* book, he’s written *two* of them – ‘Death from the Skies’ (Viking, 2008) & ‘Bad Astronomy’ (John Wiley & Sons, 2002) – But then you already knew that right? ;-)

    If I can put in a request I’d love to see him write a few more, perhaps compiling some of the best items from his blog and putting them in permanent print form. Please BA?

  19. kurt_eh

    Sweet!

    I was a summer student for 3 summers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Canada.

    On my last day off of my first season out there, I found a tail club from an Ankylosaur!

    At the time, it was only the 3rd one from the area, so the staff was very excited to see it. Sadly, it had washed down into the aluvium of a butte, and they never did recover the rest of the critter.

  20. Daniel J. Andrews

    I too thought it was Anklyosaur…my mental image was of this squat dino swiping ankles with its tail. Makes me wonder how many other things that I think I know are wrong.

    And feathers, I want to see feathers on some dinosaurs.

  21. Svlad Cjelli

    Ankylosaur is cutest saur.

  22. Jenny

    My 3-1/2-year-old (girl) is going to love this. And
    Sara Plays House, she would love your daughter! We just visited the Field Museum and she spent hours looking at fossils.

  23. Eric

    Man, when I was a child, the Ankylosaur was my favorite dinosaur, though I never knew what it was called. I would try to describe it to friends when discussing our favorite dinosaurs, but I think my ability to create the image always met with failure. I don’t have children, so I’m going to buy it for myself and relieve my childhood wonder.

  24. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (18) said:

    . . . T-Rexes attacking in fighter jets

    Yes! We need more of this!

  25. Sara Plays House (11): That’s fantastic! I hope she grows up to be a scientist. Of course, it sounds like she already is one. :)

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