Caroline Arnold's Books

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Pterosaurs, Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age book cover Pterosaurs, Rulers of the Skies in the Dinosaur Age

Imagine what the world would be like if the skies were filled with enormous animals having wing spans of up to forty feet. Incredibly, they were, 100 million years ago, when reptiles were the dominant life form on Earth and pterosaurs ruled the skies. Pterosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago along with the dinosaurs and other large reptiles of the Mesozoic. Today, pterosaur fossils have been found on every continent, including Antarctica, and scientists are still learning about the strange winged creatures that soared over the oceans, mountains and plains for 150 million years during the Age of Dinosaurs.

Prizes and Awards
  • Outstanding Science Trade Book by the Children's Book Council in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association
  • Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of the Year, 2006
  • Children's Book of the Month Club Main Selection, December 2007
  • Reviews
    Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004

    Leather-winged creatures sporting a dazzling variety of beaks, teeth, crests, body shapes and coloration soar across the pages of this introduction to one of the most successful--and diverse--types of prehistoric reptiles. Careful to separate fact from speculation, Arnold describes distinctive features of nearly two dozen specifically named species, as well as how the fossilized remains of several of those species came to be discovered. Caple takes permissable artistic license to outfit some of her specimens with outsized sails, bright colors and (building on very limited evidence) pelts. The results will please dino-fans at any level of expertise, despite the lack of a supplementary reading list. (index, museum list)

    Booklist, December 1, 2004

    After tackling megalodon, feathered dinos, and woolly mammoths in three previous books, Arnold and Caple add another extinct creature to their repertoire. This solid overview of "the only reptiles ever capable of powered flight" covers pterosaurs' ancestry, their peculiar physiology, theories about their behavior, and major fossil discoveries, frequently making abstract facts concrete through vivid comparisons: "If your arms were built like the wings of a pterosaur, your little finger would be more than 3 feet (1 meter) long!" Descriptions of about 20 of the more than 100 different pterosaur species known today round out the text. Caple's neatly labeled watercolors emphasize clarity over drama, but her subjects' exotic physical oddities (hairy, bat-like bodies, toucan-bright beaks; bulbous, gaudily shaped crests) will draw kids into the diorama-like tableaus. A concluding list of museums that house pterosaur fossils will keep field-trip planners and families of dino-mad youngsters busy for years to come; source notes and titles for further reading would have made a solid package even better.