Monday, April 23, 2012
1) Bonner, Hannah. When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, & Pterosaurs Took Flight: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life in the Triassic. 2012. National Geographic. Hardbound: 44 pages. Price: $17.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: In the style of WHEN BUGS WERE BIG and WHEN FISH GOT FEET this book discusses all the exciting developments of the Triassic Age, from the recovery of the planet from the most deadly mass extinction ever, to the first appearance of the dinosaurs. We also get to meet the first mammals, the first pterosaurs (flying reptiles), the first frogs, a host of predatory marine reptiles, early turtles, and the first coral reefs. With the books' signature blend of humor and clearly presented information, cartoon illustrations help keep the fact-filled material extra fun.
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 8-12. If you enjoyed the authors' other titles, you should enjoy this one.
2) Johnson, Forrest Bryant. The Last Camel Charge: The Untold Story of America's Desert Military Experiment. 2012. Berkley Caliber. Hardbound: 365 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Last Camel Charge is the first book to tell the complete story and document in detail the military's experiment with camels. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, a need emerged for control of-and transportation through-the country's vast new western territories. The hostile environment proved a challenge to the Army's traditional mounts, and in a radical move, the War Department ordered a Navy ship and its captain to the Mid-East to purchase camels and deliver them to an Army post in Texas.
The mission brought together an extraordinary group of people: innovative rancher Samuel A. Bishop, whose desperation over the Mojave gave birth to the idea; Mexican War hero Lt. Edward F. Beale, placed in command of the newly arrived beasts, who would forge a wagon trail westward. At the same time, Colonel Albert S. Johnston was leading troops against the Mormons and Hadji "Hi Jolly" Ali, who accompanied the great beasts overseas, would become known as one of America's first Muslim immigrants.
Reaching speeds up to forty miles an hour, traveling days without water, and able to carry three times the weight of a mule, camels helped to subdue enemies, reach new frontiers, and unite a nation. And now, The Last Camel Charge gives them their due as a vital piece of American history.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Western U.S. and/or military history.