The Plesiosaur’s Neck by Dr. Adam S. Smith & Jonathan Emmett, Illustrated by Adam Larkum


Juuuust a reminder: Plesiosaurs were prehistoric aquatic reptiles that lived in the Cretaceous period, alongside dinosaurs, but they were actually not dinosaurs. Who cares! They were huge and cool predators that lived in the water and had a verrry long neck! Do you want to know something else that is really cool? The author, Jonathan Emmett, wrote this picture book together with a REAL palaeontologist, Dr. Adam S. Smith.

In this book we learn the story of a very special Albertonectes plesiosaur called Poppy.

Never mind its powerful flippers and steering tail, Poppy’s most noticeable feature is a neck longer than the rest of its body. To be more precise, seven metres long —the longest ever in animal history!

This under the sea book brings us to a very different world than we live in today. Shifting the spotlight from the usual dinosaur stage, we learn about other creatures from the same era. Sea-creatures like the Ammonites and Belemnites — and let me say that their commentary is simply hilarious! They tell some of the best Mesozoic jokes that I have learned in a while.

I love way that the authors mixed non-fiction with a bit of a story.

Having a prehistoric main character like Poppy is just a really engaging way to learn facts about this reptile and her journey in the Cretaceous period.

Also, imagining the possible functions of a prehistoric animal’s feature is a big part of a palaeontologist’s job. In the book we learn to think like a palaeontologist and try to guess the evolutionary reasons for the Plesiosaur’s long neck. Could it be for moving its head faster than its body when hunting? Maybe. Perhaps for catching pterosaurs flying above the water? Hmmm, maybe not, it was too heavy for that. Maybe reaching deep inside underwater caves and holes? Possible!

The Plesiosaur’s Neck is an amazing book full of puns and dino jokes, inquisitive thinking, and detective-like clue searching! Oh, and thank you, Adam Larkum for bringing Poppy to life with your fun and vivid illustrations! (let me tell you that drawing a Plesiosaur is not that easy, let alone drawing the same one about 20 times!).

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