Ham is the president of Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization promoting science that isn't contradictory to the Bible. He's written a number of dinosaur books for children, but Dinosaurs for Kids is my favorite. With realistic, stunning illustrations by Bill Looney, this book is a great primer on dinosaurs and creation science.
In addition to teaching about various types of dinosaurs, Ham covers such topics as the infallibility of the Bible and it's possible mention of dinosaurs (reminding us the word "dinosaurs" is relatively new and wasn't around during the writing of the Bible - or when it was finally translated into English). He reminds us the Bible says all animals were made on the sixth day of creation and that they were all plant eaters until after the fall. One two page spread maps out evolutionary theory, so children will be aware of the predominant view, then another two page spread explains what the Bible has to say about the creation of people and animals.
One of my favorite sections discusses dinosaur teeth. Ham explains that scientists draw conclusions about what dinosaurs ate by looking at their teeth, and the general view is that large, sharp teeth indicate the animal ate meat. But then he discusses and pictures the musk deer, the fruit bat (who, yes, eats only fruit), and bears (who are primarily vegetarians). All have impressive, sharp teeth. So if living herbivores with meat-eating style teeth exist today, how can we look at dinosaur teeth and presume to know what they ate? In fact, Ham writes, you would need very sharp teeth to eat certain plants or branches. (Just imagine trying to eat a pumpkin without large, sharp teeth.)
Ham also explains how scientists use the fossil record, and how incomplete most fossils are. He explains the creationist view that the reason we have so many dinosaur fossils is the biblical flood. He also offers his ideas on how dinosaurs entered the ark. And why did dinosaurs die out? Ham offers several theories, including the idea that the earth after the flood wasn't ideal for dinosaurs. He also touches upon the idea that legends of dragons - prevalent in many cultures - may be based upon actual living dinosaurs.
Throughout, Ham explains much of what we "know" about dinosaurs is actually theory, and that not infrequently, scientists' ideas about dinosaurs change. For example, Ham also tells this story:
"The Oviraptor ('egg-robber')...was once thought by secular scientists to have robbed the nests of other dianosaurs. This assumption was made becauise the fossilized bones of an Oviraptor were found very close to a grouping of eggs. After modern technology and other fossil finds showed the eggs were probably those of the Oviraptor found with them, secular scientists then began considering Oviraptors to be caring parents. That concliusion just created more unproven ideas."Interestingly, Ham also writes that most creation scientists think there were only around 50 different types of dinosaurs. He wrote this in 1990 - yet a 2010 issue of Smithsonian magazine says more and more scientists are thinking there were fewer types of dinosaurs than previously believed. The variations among many fossils, they think, showcases the difference between young and old dinosaurs.
What I Like: Everything. This is a well-written, well-presented book that helps teach children the creationist view of dinosaurs while explaining that many people have a different view. Ham often presents ideas for politely speaking with evolutionists about dinos, and does a terrific job of making the case for creationism. The illustrations by Bill Looney really make this a stunning book, sure to please any young dinosaur lover.
What I Dislike: Nothing,
Overall Rating: I'd like to say "Superb," but that's not an official Christian Children's Book Review rating. So instead I'll say "Excellent."
Age Appeal: 8 - 12.
Publishing Info: Master Books, 2009; ISBN: 978-0890515556; hardback, $14.99
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