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The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,010 ratings  ·  225 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
A masterful blend of artistic skill, scientific prowess, and impassioned theatrics lay at the core of Waterhouse Hawkins. A man of pure determination, he created the first life-size models of dinosaurs! This brilliant book is a fantastic nod to the genius of one man, and a glimpse into the beginning of an important era.

As a boy in England, Benj

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,010 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mark-harmon
In 1853 Waterhouse Hawkins was an English illustrator and sculptor who was commissioned by Queen Victoria to build life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs for the Crystal Palace, an art and science museum in England. This was to be the first time the average citizen would be able to see what a dinosaur looked like. Prior to this honor, Hawkins had illustrated the work of Charles Darwin, so he was eminently qualified in the fields of evolution and illustration to “create” the first dinosaurs.

This Ca
This is illustrated by Brian Selznick and I didn’t know it existed. It’s a beautiful book of nonfiction about the man who wanted to educate the public on the existence of dinosaurs through visual reproduction back in the 1850s or so. Mr. Waterhouse was an artist of animals. He took the known dinosaur bones they had dug up and imagined what the creatures would look like and then he built them to scale with brick, metal, plaster and paint. Queen Victoria loved them. They were put on display for al ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children 9 + up who are interested in history, dinosaurs, interesting real life characters
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
This is a fabulous book; it’s completely engrossing. I’d never heard of Waterhouse Hawkins and I’m delighted his story is told in this book. He was such an impressive person: talented, dedicated, obviously with a sense of humor.

There is an author’s note and an illustrator’s note in the back of the book that are just superb. The author talks about the models, the spirit of the artist, the boss (you’ll see when you read the book), and the Palace (so cool and so sad it no longer exists.) The illus
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Qt--thank you!
4 STARS for the storytelling aspect, adding an extra star for the excellent author's and illustrator's notes.

First of all, this book was pretty much made for me! It has Victorian England (including the Crystal Palace which I wish so desperately was still standing today!), imaginative and fancy dinner parties, dinosaurs, and a thoughtful, creative and dedicated man who fought past the norm and those who tried to stop him to pursue his dream. Oh, and the fabulous drawings of Brian Selznick. What's
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dinosaur history fans and those interest in museums and art
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn
What an enjoyable, informative book!

It is so hard for me to wrap my head around never having seen a full dinosaur skeleton, or even a rendering of the creatures! But, thanks to artist Waterhouse Hawkins (as well as other artists, researches, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) that was all changed for the reopening of the Crystal Palace!

Waterhouse was assigned with introducing the populace to models of what researchers and scientists inferred dinosaurs would look like (from the odds and ends b
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Summary/A Thoughtful Review:
This books tells the story of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, artist, lecturer, and dinosaur extraordinaire! Divided into three sections: The First Age-London, The Second Age-America, and The Third Age-Home Again, author Barbara Kerley and illustrator Brian Selznick have collaborated to make this man's imagination and creations come alive for readers of all ages! Hawkins was born, grew up, and lived many years in London, passionately drawing and sculpting animals of eve
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful biography of the man who first made life-size models of dinosaurs. I have to admit that I'd never heard of him and our girls were a bit apprehensive of reading this book.

But once we started reading, we were totally immersed into his world; we loved reading about his crazy dinner parties inside the dinosaur and we gasped in shock and horror at the idea of someone destroying work that took him two years to create.

We didn't read the entire author's note together, but I did exp
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This lavishly illustrated and poetically written story of one man's determination amid adversity is inspiring. The story is divided into three time periods when a Victorian artist used his skills to create drawings, small models, clay models, molds, iron skeletons, and finished replicas of dinosaurs. In many respects, this man, Waterhouse Hawkins, can be credited with our continued fascination with these creatures that roamed the world long before humans arrived. The illustrator's attention to d ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, nonfic, j
Yes, those are Brian Selznick illustrations.

And I love the way the book is laid out - flipping through it, I love the variety of page layouts, whitespace, and giant dinosaur pix.

But reading it straight through, some of the magic disappears.
I read it looking for books to promote to elementary-aged kids this month, and I don't think this will make the cut.
There's something of seeing behind the curtain about it. I mean, yeah, this guy had a cool task and maybe made a BIG impact on history by b
Interesting story of an amazing person, who I was not familiar with by name before reading this book. Great pictures, too :-)
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This true story is about Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' life. The story takes place in three different ages. The first age, London, shows how Waterhouse grew up drawing, painting and sculpting models of animals. He became fascinated with dinosaurs and wanted to make models of them. This is a big deal because even though fossils had been found years before, nobody really knew what dinosaurs looked like with muscles and skin. With some help from a scientist, Richard Owen, Waterhouse made life-size m ...more
Richie Partington
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Brian Selznick, Scholastic Press, September 2001

THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS is a picture book which will certainly be adored by young dinosaur lovers--those little kids who throw around twenty-letter-long dinosaur names as casually as if they were mentioning "cat" or "dog." But to see this book as merely appropriate for younger ages would be a serious squandering of the scholarship and artistic talents invested in this
Shala Howell
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
In 1853, almost no one knew what a dinosaur looked like. No one had ever mounted a complete dinosaur skeleton, and who could be expected to imagine what these strange creatures would have looked like with muscles, skin, teeth, eyes, tails, and feet all in their proper places from just a heap of bones? This engaging children's book is the story of the Victorian artist who, with the help of renowned scientist Richard Owen, would bring dinosaurs to life for the people around him.

The story connects
Sophia Kanoon
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary (3rd -5th grade)
Reading level: Guided Reading Level M
Genre: Biography

Main Characters: Waterhouse Hawkins
Setting: 19th century England
POV: From author's (Barbara Kerley) viewpoint discussing Waterhouse Hawkins’ life and works

Summary: The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is a biography authored by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Brian Selznick, that describes the life and work of a famous paleontologist and artist, Waterhouse Hawkins. In 19th century Engl
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed both the text and illustrations in this introduction to Waterhouse Hawkins. I especially love both the illustration of and fact that he held a dinner party where guests sat inside a huge iguanadon sculpture! I love Waterhouse Hawkins' desire to use what was known at the time (which wasn't much...most of the dinosaur sculptures he created were based on just a few fossils!) to bring dinosaur to the masses. The wonderful author's and illustrator's notes explain that much of what Ha ...more
Emily Allen
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't imagine that a book about someone's dinosaurs could be "informational," but after reading The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, I am so floored by the illustrations and by the absolutely fascinating story of this Londoner and his ability to capture the minds of people all over the world with his creativity and vision for Dinosaurs.

Hawkins, who grew up drawing and creating models of the creatures around him, grew into a man fascinated by dinosaurs of all kinds.

After m
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The story of the man who helped the world fall in love with his dinosaurs through his life-size sculptures. The story is told in three parts and begins with Hawkins's success in England and showcases his famous dinner party in which the brightest scientific minds of the day dined inside a mold of an iguanadon.

In the second part, Waterhouse is invited to America to build sculptures for Central Park in New York City. He's honored, but not everyone is supportive of this project and two years of Ha
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
This is a picture book format biographical account of Waterhouse Hawkins and his dinosaur sculptures. Hawkins partnered with Richard Owen, a renowned paleontologist, to make these large sculptures for the Crystal Palace. At the time, they only had fragments of a few species and one articulated skeleton of a scelidosaurus. Based off of that one, which was obviously a stocky quadruped, Hawkins built his models. Now, we know today that his models are not entirely accurate, but, some are closer than ...more
Sue Smith
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for kids - especially those who looooove dinosaurs!! It's such a wonderful insight into the incredible imaginations and the visionary nature of the people who decided to see beyond the bones - to see the possibilities and the probabilities that these bones used to be something. Not just any 'something' either. Something really really big!

It just goes to show how someone can follow a passion in their lives and see it to fruition. That they can see others find the magic and b
Sarah Maddaford
This book probably earned a few extra points just for having to do with dinosaurs. It's good to read that not all of the first designers of what dinosaurs may have looked like were the touring charletons that get time on the history channel. Hawkins really believed that his ideas of how dinosaurs may have appeared were accurate. Given the information he had, he did a fantastic job and it's awful that the U.S. didn't support him nearly as well as England. I'm also very impressed that the park whe ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this nonfiction work about Waterhouse Hawkins and the early days of dinosaur research. I especially liked that the text stressed that early dinosaur scientists used fossils and what they knew about modern reptiles to design models of dinosaurs. The final pages of the book discuss what Waterhouse learned about dinosaurs with more discoveries and compare Waterhouse's ideas with today's ideas. The illustrations are rich and match the feel of Waterhouse's time and interests.

Stefanie Burns
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott-honor
Intriguing tale, with beautiful illustrations, that tells the story of Waterhouse Hawkins who created the first dinosaur models in the mid 1800s. The front cover immediately caught my eye and the text and illustrations included inside did not disappoint! While reading the story, I even stopped to search a little more about Hawkins to see how much was true in the book. The author includes a nice, detailed note at the end. Anyone with interest in paleontology or who enjoys non-fiction will enjoy t ...more
Wow. What a great story of a person who I had certainly not heard of but clearly have seen the impact of. I've been to quite a few museum's with dinosaur models and dioramas. And I still have my children's dinosaur book somewhere. But I never heard of Waterhouse Hawkins. This book brings his story to life. It's quite wordy for a picture book. But as a way for a child to see how science can be an inspiration for a life's work it was pretty amazing.
Kristine Hansen
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book tells so much - an interesting story, about how to come back after a defeat, about a man with a vision and how statues come into being. I was fascinated by this whole story, especially so by the article at the end of the book which is well worth reading as an adult to find out more. Definitely share this book with your kids. Loved it!
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
True story of Victorian artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins who built the first life-size dinosaur models to teach the world about these ancient animals. Color illustrations by Brian Selznick won a Caldecott Honor award. Many were based on Hawkins' sketches. Kerley's lively storytelling voice and text organization make this a fun book for dinosaur fans.
Kaethe Douglas
perfect to go along with Larklight for the overlapping Victoriana, totally cool nonfiction
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great non-fiction book! Learned some things!
Kirsten Whisler
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot of larger vocabulary that even I struggled with. I would suggest it for an older student. It was really interesting to learn how dinosaur sculptures are made though.
Elijah Libert
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Uhm...I wasn't really into it. I do not have anything to say about it.
Cassandra Gelvin
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deducing the whole from the smallest fragment.

This book has gorgeous illustrations and tells the true story of a man named Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, who was responsible for popularizing dinosaurs to the world. The first dinosaur fossils were discovered in London, but were kind of a rare curiosity until a scientist named Richard Owen tried to understand what the larger animal must have looked like and worked with Hawkins, who made illustrations and sculpted models of what the dinosaurs looked
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The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins 1 6 Sep 26, 2013 10:42AM  

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Barbara Kerley was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in many places, including Nepal and the tropical island of Guam. She has written about almost everything: 19th C iguanodons, Teddy Roosevelt, world peace, Mark Twain's donkey, and the pleasure of following your curiosity.