Category: Reptiles

#STEM #Kidlit Book of Dinosaurs


Time to check out the new picture book,  Book of Dinosaurs: 10 Record-Breaking Prehistoric Animals by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster. (We’ve previously reviewed two other books by Gabrielle Balkan and Sam Brewster, Book of Bones and Book of Flight. If you enjoyed those, this book has many of the same features.)

In Book of Dinosaurs, explore which record-breaking dinosaurs had:
• The toughest armor
• The sharpest eyesight
• The biggest belly
• The spikiest tail

and more.

Readers are asked to guess which dinosaur wins the category based on an amazing illustration of that dinosaur’s skeleton and a set of clues about it. Turn the page for the big reveal, a colorful illustration of the animal and more details about its biology.

What makes this book exceptional?

The text is written in first person point of view. It is as if the dinosaurs are telling their own stories. And the facts have been finely distilled to the most interesting and informative.

The illustrations on the reveal pages have texture overlaying in the shape of creature’s skeleton from the previous page. Basically, the reader can feel (and see) the skeleton as it would be positioned inside. Pretty cool!

There are many books on the market about dinosaurs. Book of Dinosaurs fills an important niche between the board books /simple picture books for the 4-6 year olds, and the massive encyclopedic titles for older readers. Plus it is engaging and fun to read. Get it into the hands of a dinosaur-loving reader today!

Related Activities:

Construct a 3-D model dinosaur skeleton as a fun activity to accompany the book.

(*Amazon Affiliate link- As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Phaidon Press (June 15, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1838664297
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1838664299

Disclosure: An e-ARC of this book was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Preschool STEM Story Time: Reptiles

In another in our series of STEM story times, let’s explore reptile-themed books, learning centers, and activities.

The Books:

To start story time, I began by reading an older picture book from my bookshelf, Lizard in the Sun by Joanne Rider and illustrated by Michael Rothman.

Although this book works well when read one-on-one, it was a bit long for a group of preschoolers. They began to distract each other.

After talking about what reptiles are and visiting the activity stations, we finished with their choice from a pile I provided, Get to Know Gila Monsters (Get To Know Reptiles) by Flora Brett.

STEM Activity Station 1. Lizard in the Sun (Under a lamp)

Explore the concept of “cold-blooded” or ectothermic (having a internal temperature determined by-and-large by the external environment.)


  • Two lizard shapes cut from black construction paper
  • Small desk lamp

Place one lizard shape directly under the lamp and one at least three feet away, preferably in a shaded or dark area. Have the children compare the temperature of each.

(Older children could record the temperature difference with a thermometer.)

Optional:  Added graphic of temperature vs. lizard activity on page 3 from Sonoran Desert Museum’s Leaping Lizard’s handout.


STEM Activity Station 2. Box of Reptiles (Sorting activity)


      • Toy or model reptiles:  snakes, alligators, lizards, turtles
      • Box or bin
      • A few toy or model animals that are not reptiles:  mammals, birds, insects, fish, or frogs

Mix the animals in the box or bin. Prepare a sign that reads:  Some animals were put into the box of reptiles by mistake. Can you find the ones that aren’t reptiles and take them out?

STEM Activity Station 3:  Senses Learning Station


  • Images of snakes with prominent heat sensing pits (sense heat)
  • Images of snakes tongues and Jacobson’s organs (smell)
  • Point out the eyes (sight)
  • Hearing- although reptiles don’t often have obvious ears, they can hear

Place this station near the lizard in the sun station so can compare how we detect heat with how a snake detects heat.

(I included this station because we had previously learned about human senses).

STEM Activity Station 4:  Make a macaroni snake craft (fine motor skills)


  • Chenille stems (pipecleaners)
  • White glue
  • Pasta shells
  • Penne (red lentil for color)
  • Marker
  • Red craft foam cut into tongue shape (Y)

Make a loop in one end of the chenille stem to form the head. Feed the penne onto the chenille stem to cover the body. Bend the end back to hold the penne on. Add eyes to a pasta shell and slip over the head loop. Glue into place (do this after the body so it doesn’t get dislodged). Glue on the tongue. Allow glue to set before playing with the snakes.

See our previous snake craft using paper beads and a more detailed pasta version at The Pinterest Parent.

STEM Activity Station 5:  Make a reptile book


  • reptile book PDF – print out number of copies needed
  • Scissors
  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils to decorate

For instructions how to fold the book, visit the Making Books website or watch this video:

Note:  This project was a bit too difficult for preschoolers, but their parents seemed to enjoy it. The children will color/decorate them at home.

Mini field trip:

The center where the story time was held had a timely exhibit of snakes and lizards, so we made a mini field trip to see it.

The information about Gila monsters probably sparked the children’s interest in reading the book about them at the end of story time.

The exhibit included an actual shed snake skin to touch. Cool!

Pointed out the different sizes and shapes of the scales on the bottom versus the top.

This unit was a hit. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.


Visit our Pinterest Board for more reptile STEAM ideas.

Want to read more children’s books about reptiles? Try our growing list at Science Books for Kids.