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Animals of a Bygone Era: An Illustrated Compendium

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A whimsically illustrated collection of fascinating, surprising, and funny facts about extinct animals. In this beautifully illustrated book, Swedish artist and author of The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, Maja Safstrom, explores the world of extinct animals. Animals of a Bygone Era features 54 extinct animals from the ancient and modern world--including w ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Ten Speed Press
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, art
If you're looking for a whimsical, beautifully illustrated, and just plain fun coffee-table book, Maja Säfström's Animals of a Bygone Era could be just the thing. The book is short but very sweet, with quaint drawings and mischievous comments that make it a thoroughly enjoyable read for kids or adults.

I wish I could show a few examples of the inside pages, but so far the publisher hasn't released any, so I'll do my best to describe the format. Each animal gets two pages, with one or more creatur
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This wonderful book contains some superb quirky illustrations of animals that long ago went extinct. I found it fascinating to read, very few of the animals were known to me, a few I knew about from watching nature docs about animals of the past. A few have very little known about them and the drawings are interpretations on what fossil evidence we have. Travelling back in time to when these animals roamed the earth would be very scary indeed, the size of some of the animals is down-right mad... ...more
Elasmosaurus, Titanoboa, Moa, Terror birds, Giant Sea Scorpions, Walking Whales, Shiva's Beast, Horned Gophers, Basilosaurus, Woolly Mammoths, Tasmanian Tigers, Giant saddle Tortoises and many more creatures that we almost know nothing about. Surprising to know about a few who managed to survive killer asteroids, post pluvial era of heavy rainfalls, Earthquakes, Dark Ice ages and eventually Ubeen succumbed to pity humans.

It's a very informative book on paleontology and history of our ancestors
Peter Tillman
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gift-givers
Shelves: sci-tech, art
Sweet little book of illustrations of extinct animals, from one of the earliest to some that overlapped with humans, such as the dodos. She deliberately excluded dinosaurs ("Wait, what?") in favor of lesser-known critters. For the ones I know, the paleontology is accurate, but the real attraction is her charming, cartoon-like illustrations, and the whimsical (imaginary) remarks from some of her subjects. From Leptictidium, an extinct rabbit-like animal wh ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was very humorous, but not in a guffaw sort of way. I never knew about these prehistoric animals, but I think that most people wouldn't have heard of them. The drawings are simple, as are the descriptions.
Clare O'Beara
Beginning with the earliest sea creatures and moving forwards, omitting the much publicised dinosaurs in order to give other creatures some exposure, this little book cheerfully displays various extreme, extraordinary and extinct animals.

The cartoon sketches (black and white) in some cases compare modern creatures for size, like the short-faced kangaroo with red kangaroo, and all come with a place and date for the fossils or stuffed specimens as the case may be. For the dodo and thylacine appea
Apr 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Maja Säfström's somewhat whimsical illustrations perfectly accompany tidbits about animals that no longer roam our planet.
This is adorable! Safstrom’s illustrations are wonderful and bound to spark curiosity.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Animals of a Bygone Era: An Illustrated Compendium by Maja Safstrom is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late March.

Adored it! This is a simple, biological, non-dinosaur-centric sketchbook with dark grey on grey (or vise versa) and black focal highlight drawings and quirky, not fully scientific, arrowed descriptions of anatomy, size, and life conditions of prehistoric and/extinct creatures. A perfect read for all ages and all levels of interests in animals.
Anusha Narasimhan
Informative and amusing book with brilliant illustrations. Highly recommended for kids. This would also serve as a good coffee table book. A delight to read!

Note - I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review in any way.
Lauren James
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is such a lovely, humorous, carefully illustrated book. Just the right mix of fact and fun to keep both children and adults paying attention. This would be such a nice christmas gift!
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
“Whimsical” is probably the best single word to describe Animals of a Bygone Era: An Illustrated Compendium, written and drawn by Maja Safstrom, which runs through a series of extinct animals from 550 million years ago (Dickinsonia Costata) to 12, 000 years ago (Saddle-Backed Rodrigues Giant Tortoises). The black-and white drawings are charmingly rough and stylized, doing a good job of clearly depicting the animals with enough if not overwhelming detail. Purists might not care for the facial ant ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A graphic novel about animals in history. There are traces left of the lost world. More than 400 million years ago, Cameroceras existed. The animal, resembling an octopus, was up to nine meters long and fossils can still be seen in walls and stairs of lime stones.

It was an interesting world. There was the Meganeura, dragonflies with 75 cm between their wing tips, living 300 million years ago and Jaekelopterus, giant scorpions, living 380 million years ago, the size of a human. There were flying
Andrew Blok
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Normally I'm not one to pick up and read a book that proclaims itself a "whimsical collection" because the word whimsical seems to me like a nickname: you can be given it as a descriptor, but not by yourself. Then you're just trying too hard.

This book, however, was delightful for all its whimsy. In a short ten-minute read, Maja Safstrom illustrates some of the weirdest, coolest, most unlikely now-extinct animals (although I'm still holding hope for the Tasmanian Tiger) with two or three short c
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From Netgalley for a review:

This book would have been very loved by me as a kid, with adorable illustrations of extinct animals and cute little factoids, what is not to love? The black and white art reminds me a bit of the style of Edward Gorey, but geared towards mostly prehistoric creatures. so this definitely won it some points in my book. As always with these style books I wish there was more information, but since it is geared more towards showcasing the art that makes sense that it is ligh
An interesting introduction for young children to animals that came and went over the course of Earth's history. Dinosaurs are covered extensively in natural history books, so it's good to see the non-dino's getting a look-in. This is mainly a picture book, having only a few short comments per animal, which to me is problematic; there's not much to go on when the inevitable 'why', 'what', and 'how' questions arise. A very basic book, but one that will hopefully engender further interest down the ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Clever and cute! But for such a simple format and with its intended audience of kids, it’s important to get the facts straight. This retired science teacher caught a few but there might be more...Dickinsonia was a cool critter but we really don’t know how it ate or that they grew until they died. The fossil evidence for this Ediacaran creature is too limited to make the claims the author does. We also have no way of knowing if the Ambulocetus could only hear under water. There are other mistakes ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature-other
A charming book full of little black and white illustrations of various extinct critters including Hallucigenia, Moa, the giant sloth, and more! Very simple facts to go along with the drawings, and is essentially a quick little flip through that would take less than thirty minutes to finish, but would be hours of joy for kids fascinated by extinct ancient wildlife.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
This is a really neat book. The illustrations are amazing and really bring to life animals of the past. The facts are so interesting. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to everyone interested in animals.
Mindy Rose
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a darling informative collection of creatures of yore. 5/5.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it - the research, the art and the creativity.
Laura I.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful and fascinating.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, science
I'm getting this for any children I have. It is decided.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The illustrations are great but, but the reading is a little dry.
Gabrielle Cardinale
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Adorable look at non dinosaurs that deserve attention. Only note is that Cameroceras did not get 9 meters long as in the book but could have been 6 meters.
The Sleepy Creator
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
a wonderful book for animal lovers and illustrators.
When you think about animals long gone, what's the first thing that pops into your head? Dinosaurs.
Well, this book ain't about those though. This is a beatiful illustrated list of "Animals of a bigone era". Some you might have heard, but most of them were new to me. I really liked this collection as the illustrations were both cute and educational.

50 Book Reviews Professional Reader 80% Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge Challenge Participant
Douglas Lord
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dudes tend to not use the words 'whimsical' and 'sumptuous.' But those words come to mind with this book of black-and-white drawings of animals that once roamed the Earth. There’s not much rhyme or reason to the creatures; there are those from the recent past (the Moa, made extinct around 1445 CE), and ones that lived 23 million years ago (the big shark Megalodon). All are drawn with faces, expressions, and personalities that are captivating. Säfström hones in on the darned strangeness that Moth ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Animals of a Bygone Era by Maja Safstrom - what a stylish and delightful book! The illustrations are simple, yet they thoroughly depict the long extinct creatures. There are several prehistoric creatures that you may have heard of like the Dodo bird and Sabre Tooth Tiger, but a vast majority of the book is dedicated to the lesser known creastures of the past.
This title would be perfect for any child or adult who enjoys prehistoric creatures, science and animals!

Thank you to Netgalley and the pub
Mich Must Read
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an artists rendition of extinct animals that are not readily covered in the main stream. Its meant for kids in the age range of 7-12 years old. The pictures are whimsical. The facts are presented in a cute and engaging manner. This is a great way to get kids interested in paleontology and other sciences.
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