100 books like Fossil by Fossil

By Sara Levine, T.S. Spookytooth (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Fossil by Fossil fans have personally recommended if you like Fossil by Fossil. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual Guide to Prehistoric Animals

S.K. Wenger Author Of Chicken Frank, Dinosaur!

From my list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before becoming an author and awarded science teacher, I was a child who explored the unpaved colonial roads in rural New Hampshire and brought home bucket loads of tadpoles, frogs, and turtles from nearby wetlands. I knew the rock walls that lined those roads had been placed by others who’d worked the land long before. My curiosity extended to wondering what the area had been like before humans started changing things. In retrospect, perhaps I wrote Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! in part for that backwoods girl full of questions about the world around her. Equally so, it’s for every curious child—even those who aren’t sure about dipping their toes into the mud just yet. Enjoy!

Shaunda's book list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids

S.K. Wenger Why did Shaunda love this book?

I love this book because opening the cover and moving through the pages is like stepping up to a buffet loaded with a bountiful feast. No matter where readers land, they’ll find themselves immersed in fantastic photos and supported by fascinating tidbits of information. From graphs showing changing levels of carbon dioxide on the planet going back to prehistoric times to the stunning artistic rendering of Archeopteryx to the bountiful illustrations putting the size of different dinosaur species into perspective (as compared to humans), this book is a treasure for all ages. Our students fell in love at first sight and enjoy visiting it during downtimes in the classroom.

By Dorling Kindersley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the origin of life, through the age of dinosaurs stalked by the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex, to the earliest humans, this book tells the story of life on Earth.

Dinosaurs may be the stars of the show, but the book is truly comprehensive, with fossil plants, invertebrates, amphibians, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, and even early bacteria conjuring up an entire past world.

To put all of these extinct species in context, the book explores geological time and the way life forms are classified. It also looks at how fossils preserve the story of evolution and how that story can be…


Book cover of Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter!

S.K. Wenger Author Of Chicken Frank, Dinosaur!

From my list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before becoming an author and awarded science teacher, I was a child who explored the unpaved colonial roads in rural New Hampshire and brought home bucket loads of tadpoles, frogs, and turtles from nearby wetlands. I knew the rock walls that lined those roads had been placed by others who’d worked the land long before. My curiosity extended to wondering what the area had been like before humans started changing things. In retrospect, perhaps I wrote Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! in part for that backwoods girl full of questions about the world around her. Equally so, it’s for every curious child—even those who aren’t sure about dipping their toes into the mud just yet. Enjoy!

Shaunda's book list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids

S.K. Wenger Why did Shaunda love this book?

How can kids not walk away inspired to dig into their own interests after reading this book, especially if they feel like their dreams are out of reach or that they lack the skills to attain them? I love this book for the true life story it shares about a kid who grew up exploring the world around him, while paying attention to the details in a way that led to fascinating dinosaur fossil discoveries—discoveries that started small—with fossilized shells. Jack Horner found passion in hands-on science and persevered, despite dealing with the hardship of severe dyslexia. He also was helpful to me as I wrote my own book and was part of the inspiration behind it. It’s awesome to see such a great book about him.

By Sophia Gholz, Dave Shephard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

When Jack Horner was a child, nothing fascinated him more than fossils. Dinosaur fossils to be exact. He hunted for them at every chance he got and dreamed of being a great paleontologist. But school was hard, reading was even harder, and he struggled to succeed like the other kids in his classes. Jack persevered, finding his own way to success, until he became one of the world's most famous paleontologist, immortalized in Hollywood movies and known as Jack Horner: Dinosaur Hunter!


Book cover of A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard

S.K. Wenger Author Of Chicken Frank, Dinosaur!

From my list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before becoming an author and awarded science teacher, I was a child who explored the unpaved colonial roads in rural New Hampshire and brought home bucket loads of tadpoles, frogs, and turtles from nearby wetlands. I knew the rock walls that lined those roads had been placed by others who’d worked the land long before. My curiosity extended to wondering what the area had been like before humans started changing things. In retrospect, perhaps I wrote Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! in part for that backwoods girl full of questions about the world around her. Equally so, it’s for every curious child—even those who aren’t sure about dipping their toes into the mud just yet. Enjoy!

Shaunda's book list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids

S.K. Wenger Why did Shaunda love this book?

The lyrical and kid-friendly text in this book seamlessly blends information about the natural world in how it looked millions of years ago to a young girl’s journey in deciphering clues about prehistoric life that she found in her own backyard. By showing how Ruth Mason stuck to her desire for unravelling the mystery of the fossilized bones found on her ranch—even though she wasn’t a trained scientist—is a perfect launching pad to instill confidence in kids about their own observational abilities for things that interest them. Another book about perseverance and holding fast to one’s beliefs, A Dinosaur Named Ruth is a winner! 

By Julia Lyon, Alexandra Bye (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dinosaur Named Ruth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time.

There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is 1905, and Ruth is a prairie girl living in South Dakota. She has no way of knowing that millions of years ago, her family farm was once home to scores of dinosaurs. Until one day, when Ruth starts…


Book cover of I am not a Dinosaur!

S.K. Wenger Author Of Chicken Frank, Dinosaur!

From my list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before becoming an author and awarded science teacher, I was a child who explored the unpaved colonial roads in rural New Hampshire and brought home bucket loads of tadpoles, frogs, and turtles from nearby wetlands. I knew the rock walls that lined those roads had been placed by others who’d worked the land long before. My curiosity extended to wondering what the area had been like before humans started changing things. In retrospect, perhaps I wrote Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! in part for that backwoods girl full of questions about the world around her. Equally so, it’s for every curious child—even those who aren’t sure about dipping their toes into the mud just yet. Enjoy!

Shaunda's book list on dinosaurs and evolutionary relationships for kids

S.K. Wenger Why did Shaunda love this book?

From the lizard-looking Dimetrodon to the wooly mammoth to the 1,000-pound turtle-like Glyptodont, as well as the modern-day Latimeria fish species that was believed to have gone extinct millions of years ago (Surprise! It turned up in a fisherman’s net!), puts this book in the “must-read” category. A bouncy rhyming text that highlights large creatures that roamed the Earth both before and alongside dinosaurs, makes this book a win, especially since it lands at a modern-day avian dinosaur that can be seen in tweety parakeet.

By Will Lach, Jonny Lambert (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I am not a Dinosaur! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Way back in time, astonishing creatures lived on our planet. But they weren’t all dinosaurs! In this fun, fascinating book, you’ll meet some of these amazing prehistoric creatures, from a very big fish with 7-inch teeth to a flying reptile. Based on specimens in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History, I Am NOT a Dinosaur! uses riddle-like rhymes and bright illustrations to reveal 16 creatures. With an introduction from Chairman of Paleontology at the Museum, Dr. Mark Norell, the book also features short notes, fossil photos, and an illustrated timeline to explain everything, simply and clearly, to…


Book cover of The Palaeoartist's Handbook: Recreating Prehistoric Animals in Art

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

So often we find popular level dinosaur books with the most ridiculous and inaccurate illustrations. Usually, the fault lies with the middle-man – the children’s writer or the artist. In this book, we have an instance that is, luckily, becoming more common – the academic who has the skills to communicate directly with the general audience. Dr. Witton has the experience of studying fossil animals (pterosaurs are his specialty) and in his book demonstrates how the various aspects of his work command an accurate approach to his artwork (he is a superb artist). Any speculation in his book is based on his sound observations – who would have guessed that the keratinous covering of the horns of Triceratops continued to grow throughout life and so the horny sheaths would have produced weird curly structures like those of elderly sheep?

By Mark Witton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Palaeoartist's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Extinct worlds live again in palaeoart: artworks of fossil animals, plants and environments carefully reconstructed from palaeontological and geological data. Such artworks are widespread in popular culture, appearing in documentaries, museums, books and magazines, and inspiring depictions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in cinema. This book outlines how fossil animals and environments can be reconstructed from their fossils, explaining how palaeoartists overcome gaps in fossil data and predict 'soft-tissue' anatomies no longer present around fossil bones. It goes on to show how science and art can meet to produce compelling, interesting takes on ancient worlds, and it explores the…


Book cover of Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils

Michael J. Benton Author Of Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World

From my list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been mad about dinosaurs and ancient life since I was seven. I have been amazingly lucky to be able to develop a career as a professional palaeontologist and to be able to research and talk about the subject. We were first to show the original colours of dinosaur feathers, and this discovery provides a perfect way to open the discussion about how palaeontologists know what they say they know. In my books, I seek to amaze, amuse and inform. I have written many books, including pop science, textbooks, technical-scientific works, and books for children, and every year brings new discoveries to be transmitted to the world.

Michael's book list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist

Michael J. Benton Why did Michael love this book?

This is about dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, but it’s unique and unusual.

Author Dean Lomax has run to ground some of the most extraordinary fossils ever found, and artist Bob Nicholls turns them into stunning reconstructions. Here you can read about a beetle within a lizard within a snake, a giant beaver that made huge corkscrew burrows 3 meters deep, the mammal that ate dinosaurs, insects caught in the act of mating, and dinosaurs with cancer.

What I like is that, weird and wonderful as each story may be, each is based strictly on the fossils and reasonable interpretations of those fossils. Dinosaurs may spark the imagination, but as scientists, it’s important to show people how we come to our conclusions, and that needs evidence and reason in a discussion.

By Dean R. Lomax, Robert Nicholls,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Locked in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fossils allow us to picture the forms of life that inhabited the earth eons ago. But we long to know more: how did these animals actually behave? We are fascinated by the daily lives of our fellow creatures-how they reproduce and raise their young, how they hunt their prey or elude their predators, and more. What would it be like to see prehistoric animals as they lived and breathed?

From dinosaurs fighting to their deaths to elephant-sized burrowing ground sloths, this book takes readers on a global journey deep into the earth's past. Locked in Time showcases fifty of the…


Book cover of All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

The reason that many dinosaur restorations are inaccurate is mostly because the artists base them only on the bones and skeletons. In an interesting exercise the authors and artists here have taken modern animals and imagined how future palaeontologists would illustrate them on the same basis. An elephant has no trunk (the soft musclular material would not have fossilized). A humming bird is a vampire (its long narrow beak looks so much like a hypodermic needle). A manatee is a pig-like animal grazing on upland meadows (or so we would surmise if we only knew of its skull). As a contrast they take the traditional view of fossil animals and make perfectly reasonable predictions of their behaviour based on modern animal lifestyles. Hypsilophodon eats millipedes (although it was definitely a vegetarian - but most modern vegetarian animals eat the occasional meaty snack). Protoceratops climbs trees (although its feet show it…

By John Conway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Yesterdays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Yesterdays is a book about the way we see dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Lavishly illustrated with over sixty original artworks, All Yesterdays aims to challenge our notions of how prehistoric animals looked and behaved. As a critical exploration of palaeontological art, All Yesterdays asks questions about what is probable, what is possible, and what is commonly ignored. Written by palaeozoologist Darren Naish, and palaeontological artists John Conway and C.M. Kosemen, All Yesterdays is scientifically rigorous and artistically imaginative in its approach to fossils of the past - and those of the future.


Book cover of Australian Geographic Outback Queensland

Lee Mylne Author Of Frommer's Australia

From my list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books..

Why am I passionate about this?

As a full-time travel writer for 30 years, I’ve travelled all over Australia and am still constantly surprised and thrilled by new places. Ask me what my favourite place is, and it’s impossible to choose! From the grandeur of Western Australia’s Kimberley and the red ochre colours of the Outback to the deep blue of the oceans and lush rainforests...I love it all and I love sharing my discoveries – both in cities and on the long and winding roads – with readers. When I’m not travelling or writing about it, I’m usually planning the next trip!

Lee's book list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books.

Lee Mylne Why did Lee love this book?

The Australian Outback is a must for anyone who wants to see this country in all its diversity. Far from being just desert, the Outback is varied and fascinating. While this book only covers Queensland, it is a rich introduction to what the Outback offers. Photojournalist Danielle Lancaster knows it well, and the large-format images bring the scenery, wildlife, history, and towns of Queensland’s Outback to life. Whether you are interested in National Parks, dinosaur fossils, desert dunes, stunning gorges, or history, there’s plenty of interest here. As well as an introduction to places you may want to see, it’s also a beautiful souvenir.

Book cover of Planet Ocean: A Story of Life, the Sea and Dancing to the Fossil Record

Susan Ewing Author Of Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil

From my list on curious creatures from deep time.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young, I worked on fishing boats in Alaska and developed an affection for weird sea creatures. All manner of unusual marine life would come up on the line, like wild-looking sea stars, pointy-nosed skates, and alien-looking ratfish. Later, I graduated from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with a degree in Communications. One of my early jobs was with the Washington Department of Wildlife public information department, writing about fish, as well as other wildlife-related topics. When I moved to Bozeman, Montana, I had the opportunity to create content for a museum exhibit on early life forms. That hooked me on all things paleo. It is a joy to write about and share the things I love—like oddball creatures from deep time.

Susan's book list on curious creatures from deep time

Susan Ewing Why did Susan love this book?

Planet Ocean is a rollicking romp of a book, even while it is being deeply informative. The writing is full of wit and story, with a strong undertow of awe at the wonders of evolution and geologic time. We learn about these things along with Matsen as he and Troll go on a trilobite safari, visit museums and scientists, and dig for dinosaurs in the badlands of Alberta. The book is lavishly illustrated with Troll’s surreal, sublime, whimsical, and always arresting depictions of such creatures as Xiphactinus, Anomalocaris, Hesperornis, Hallucigenia, and of course Helicoprion.

By Bradford Matsen, Ray Troll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Planet Ocean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the paperback edition of the great pop-paleontology book with the fabulous art that inspired a show that toured the nation's natural history museums. In its own way it has inspired many people to take a new look at the fossil record and imagine creatures and things as they might have been—a blend of word and image unlike any other.


Book cover of The Meaning of Fossils: Episodes in the History of Palaeontology

Andrew H. Knoll Author Of A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters

From my list on fossils and the history of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

An acclaimed scientist, teacher, and writer, Andrew Knoll has travelled the world for decades, investigating ancient rocks to understand the intertwined histories of our planet and the life it supports. His boyhood thrill at discovering fossils has never deserted him. It continues to motivate him to explore topics that range from the earliest records of life and the emergence of an oxygen-rich atmosphere; the diversification of both plants and animals, and the intricacies of mass extinctions, past and present. He has also participated in NASA’s exploration of Mars.

Andrew's book list on fossils and the history of life

Andrew H. Knoll Why did Andrew love this book?

It’s one thing to appreciate that fossils record the history of life, but something else altogether to understand how we came to know that. Rudwick’s classic book recounts the discoveries, large and small, that over centuries revealed fossils to be remnants of lost worlds. An exceptional exercise in the history of science. The Meaning of Fossils is required reading for students of paleontology.

By Martin J.S. Rudwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Meaning of Fossils as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is not often that a work can literally rewrite a person's view of a subject. And this is exactly what Rudwick's book should do for many paleontologists' view of the history of their own field."-Stephen J. Gould, Paleobotany and Palynology

"Rudwick has not merely written the first book-length history of palaeontology in the English language; he has written a very intelligent one. . . . His accounts of sources are rounded and organic: he treats the structure of arguments as Cuvier handled fossil bones."-Roy S. Porter, History of Science


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