Gregory Wenzel, author/illustrator
Gregory is an illustrator specializing in natural science subjects. His first illustrated science book, a book about dinosaurs for G.P. Putnam Sons, was done in 1982. Since then Gregory has worked on many projects for clients ranging from book and magazine publishers to natural history museums to television. Some of his jobs have called on him to provide science art for The Tonight Show, paintings to be used as posters for Newbridge Communications, or illustrations for Michael Crichton's The Lost World.
Read more about Gregory.
- NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, 2005
Readers travel backwards in time to spend a day with feathered dinosaurs in northeastern China. On this journey children will roam the lush landscape with theropods, meat-eating dinosaurs, and their prey; plant eating dinosaurs, and the many insects and fish that make up this prehistoric world. Along the way, readers learn that the Caudipteryx, a small, feathered theropod, eats small stones to help grind food in its stomach. This meat eater has no teeth to help cut up the food it eats. Children will accompany the Sinornithosaurus, a hunting dinosaur, as it tracks and snatches its prey, a small mammal with a long, curvy tail. Under some ferns near a lake, a Microraptor flock feeds on the carcass of a horned dinosaur. At 16 inches long, the Microraptor is the smallest adult dinosaur known. This dinosaur is quite exotic looking, with its broad, feathery yellow legs and green feathered wings. Children will be fascinated with the colorful dinosaurs they meet on the pages of this engaging book. The fossils of these creatures from 124 million years ago are found in the lakebeds of Liaoning, China. The author/illustrator painstakingly recreates this ancient world with meaningful text and vivid pictures. Because feathered dinosaurs and modern birds share more than 100 characteristics, including hollow bones, feathers, and clawed, three-toed feet, he posits that the birds of today are "living, breathing, feathered dinosaurs," and not only the descendants of dinosaurs, as was previously thought. Readers will experience a sense of wonder throughout the pages of this outstanding book. Much scientific information is provided in an age-appropriate and thought provoking way. An index/glossary provides support for the text. 2004, Charlesbridge Publishing, Ages 7 to 11. —Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
For his solo debut, a veteran science illustrator takes dinophiles on a day trip to an early Cretaceous lake in modern China's Liaoning Province-identifying birds, insects, small mammals, and over a dozen species of the feathered or furred dinosaurs miraculously preserved there in the fossil record. As the text is only a series of hard-to-pronounce Latinate names connected by the barest of narrative threads, and brightly decorated creatures pose stylishly in the paintings, but are evidently able to feed without biting or bloodshed, this isn't the most riveting treatment of the topic. It is, however, the most extensive and up-to-date for younger readers, so despite its deficiencies-no bibliography or Web list, either-it's worth considering as a replacement for older surveys. (glossary/index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)
School Library Journal
Wenzel takes readers on a day's journey, 124 million years ago, through what is now northeastern China. He describes not only the setting in which these creatures are moving but also provides excellent acrylic artwork to describe the action and mood of the story. The map at the beginning of the book and the glossary/index with pronunciation key aid students in processing the vast amount of information contained in the book. Wenzel introduces a variety of dinosaurs from the smaller species to the larger ones and from the benign types to the very aggressive predators. He concludes with the statement, "Based on the evidence, we can say that birds are not only the living descendants of dinosaurs-birds are dinosaurs. We can think of all modern birds as living, breathing, feathered dinosaurs." Whether or not this theory is proven is a question that readers will most likely ask at the conclusion of this book. A treat for dinosaur lovers. –Donna Marie Wagner, Exeter Community Library, Reading, PA
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2