Matthew Rake lives in London and has worked in publishing for more than twenty years. He has written on a wide variety of topics, including science, sports, and the arts. Award-winning illustrator Simon Mendez combines his love of nature and drawing by working as an illustrator with a focus on scientific and natural subjects. He lives in the United Kingdom.
Artful digital collage makes it easy to imagine memorable modern encounters with a hippo-eating snake and other extinct creatures. Except for a species of dwarf elephant that was about the same size as the sheep among which it poses here, the animals on display were all outsized--ranging from the evocatively named Titanoboa and a hawk-sized dragonfly dubbed Meganeura to 8-foot-long prehistoric beavers and the armored frog Beelzebufo. Mendez superimposes photorealistic digital images of each into contemporary settings, often to dramatic effect: the aforementioned amphibian is posed nose to nose with a German shepherd, for instance, and a white woman looks understandably shocked at the 7-foot-long Arthropleura, a Carboniferous millipede, rearing up on her kitchen counter. Along with an opening overview and closing notes about fossil-hunting, Rake supplies basic facts about each creature's size, range, and probable habits. Rake and Mendez repeat the formula for equally memorable scenarios in the co-published Prehistoric Giants, Prehistoric Predators, and Prehistoric Sea Beasts. Armchair thrills aplenty for Anthropocene readers.--Kirkus Reviews-- "Journal" (2/1/2017 12:00:00 AM)
Combining a clever use of digital photography with well-researched material, this thoroughly engaging series reimagines prehistoric creatures inhabiting our contemporary world. Whether it's a paraceratherium strolling down a modern New York City avenue (Giants) or a giant sea scorpion enclosing an unfortunate scuba diver in its monstrous pincers (Sea Beasts), illustrator Mendez's artistic renderings are scarily authentic, and when superimposed within the scenes of daily life, the effect is simultaneously jarring and thrilling. Rake's meticulous fact-finding makes great use of sidebars to share standard information about each beast, such as name pronunciation, measurements, when and where it lived, and human-to-creature size comparisons, while introducing more specific, descriptive details in each entry's narrative. Finer points such as these as well as handy time lines and the inclusion of paleontology career options combine to make this easy-to-read but hard-to-put-down series one of a kind. VERDICT Whether dinosaur fans or not, readers of all ages will enjoy this visually stunning, informative, and, at times, humorous look at prehistory--libraries won't want to miss out.--School Library Journal-- "Journal" (4/1/2017 12:00:00 AM)