Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep – Brenda Gurr

Illustrations – R.J. Palmer

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep is an interesting introduction to prehistoric sea creatures, providing facts and speculations about their lives based on fossils that have been discovered. The book begins with an overview of the three eras the animals lived in before focusing on various types: Megalodon and other prehistoric sharks, Dunkleosteus and other placoderms, Temnodontosaurus and other ichthyosaurs, Elasmosaurus and other plesiosaurs, Kronosaurus and other pliosaurs, Tylosaurus and other mosasaurs, Livyatan and other prehistoric whales, and an overview of other prehistoric sea monsters. Finally there is some information about modern sea monsters and a glossary.

My favourite facts were:

T. rex weighed about the same as an African male elephant. But experts think that Megalodon might have weighed about the same as ten elephants!”

Dunkleosteus had an impressive skill. It could open and close its enormous jaws in a fraction of a second. This was so fast that it created a vacuum that pulled its prey (along with plenty of water) into its mouth.”

“Its eyes are thought to be the largest eyes of any animal – ever. They were almost the size of dinner plates!” [this quote is about Temnodontosaurus]

Kronosaurus [KRONE-oh-SAWR-us] is a pliosaur named after Kronos, a thoroughly nasty Greek god who swallowed all of his children. (Don’t worry, they turned out fine.)”

“Like a snake, Tylosaurus had a double-hinged jaw.”

“The name Livyatan comes from the Hebrew spelling of Leviathan, a biblical sea monster.”

“Its neck was about three to four times the length of an adult giraffe’s! It made up about half of its body length and contained more than seventy bones.” [this quote is about Elasmosaurus who looks suspiciously liked the Loch Ness monster but apparently isn’t]

I liked the conversational tone of the writing and the comparisons made between animals or objects kids would recognise and the size and weight of the prehistoric creatures described in the book. The length of each animal is illustrated against a coast guard lifeboat. Similar books I’ve read have compared animals to the height of an average adult; as a kid I would have found it easier to imagine an animal’s size if I was using a person as the comparison rather than a boat. Even now I appreciated the pronunciation help for some of the more unusual names.

The illustrations are detailed and the layout is interesting and varied. Photos are also used where possible to show fossils and animals children will be familiar with. A lot of the illustrations feature animals about to eat other animals or engaged in fights, which may be scary for some readers. Occasionally the white writing was difficult to read when it was against a pale background but I read this ARC on an iPad so this may have been fixed prior to publication.

I imagine I would have gotten a good grade if I’d used this book to research a school project and it’s the type of book I would still borrow from the library because you can never know enough cool facts about Megalodon and its meals. I definitely need to check out the Megalodon skeleton that comes with this book (instructions for assembling it are included – whew!).

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep brings real-life sea monsters back from extinction and up from the ocean depths!

Did you know that the prehistoric mega-shark called Megalodon was thirty times larger than a great white shark? If Megalodon were still alive, it would be able to destroy entire boats and swallow people whole! This nightmare-inducing shark continues to fascinate – and horrify! – shark fans everywhere.

Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep brings to the surface everything there is to know about this famed monster and explores other giant sea monsters from the past, including Tylosaurus (the deadliest marine hunter of its time) and the Elasmosaurus (a swimming reptile with a neck four times longer than a giraffe.)

Bring Megalodon to life with this 17-piece, 8.5″ long, intricately detailed Megalodon skeleton, complete with a 2-part stand. Assemble it yourself! 

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