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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Old T-Rex and Big Woolly Mammoth by Geoff Gudsell

Young readers can take a trip back to the time of the Ice Age or the Cretaceous period in these two books by retired teacher turned author Geoff Gudsell.

Using two of the most well-known creatures of those times - a mammoth and a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Gudsell has created a short rhyming story about the features of both of these beasts.

While rhyme is so often over-used in children's books, often to the detriment of the story, Gudsell doesn't 'over cook' it. Reading it, it is instantly obvious Gudsell has drawn on his years of teaching to make these books that will appeal to younger readers. The rhyme isn't too much of a stretch, while also imparting some fun facts. He also uses some great humour - do you think T-Rex ever had nightmares about his demise, did mammoths go ice skating? - that will keep little listeners engaged and inspire them to ask their own questions.

The story is really only just the start though. Gudsell switches to make these books useable resources. The back pages are packed full of facts and figures on not just the main character, but the time they were alive and other creatures you might have found.

Old T-Rex for example includes information not only about the tyrant lizard king, but about dinosaurs in general, the Mesozoic era, the Cretaceous era, where dinosaurs lived, how they died, and detailed information on 12 other amazing creatures that were living about the same time as T-Rex.

This additional resource, of which Big Woolly Mammoth replicates, is a veritable treasure trove of information for curious readers.

Illustrator Ned Barraud could not be a more perfect match for the book. Barraud already has a number of non-fiction books under his belt, many of which revolve around the natural world. His illustrations are clear and detailed but somehow full of emotion (the T-Rex licking his chops a particular favourite).

Big Woolly Mammoth and Old T-Rex are two creative non-fiction gems. These colourful and engaging books will appeal to curious kids keen to travel back in time and explore our natural history.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Copy Press Books, RRP $22 each


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