Mammoths and mastodons: titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths and mastodons: titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe

—Mammoths tend to get a lot of press, while their mastodon cousins accumulate footnotes, so it’s nice to see mastodon getting second-banana billing in this attractive look at Ice Age favorites. Bardoe begins with the discovery of a marvelously preserved infant mammoth in Northern Siberia and goes on to discuss anatomy (comparing mastodon tusks and teeth, for example) and to postulate on probable Proboscidan behaviors based on fossil finds and extrapolation of modern elephant lifestyles. The readable text includes two fictional scenarios for fossils being found where they were (e.g., a young bull trapped in a steeper-than-expected water hole) and is nicely larded with interesting information boxes on such topics as “Treasures from the Permafrost.” Excellent color photos and competent artwork lend visual interest, as does a Proboscidan “family tree” and a pair of maps (one of which, on Ice Age boundaries, may prove a tad confusing due to overlaps). Team this with Sandra Markle’s dramatic Outside and Inside Woolly Mammoths (Walker, 2007) or Windsor Charlton’s investigation of the Jarkov mammoth in Woolly Mammoth: Life, Death, and Rediscovery (Scholastic, 2001) for a grand view of an Ice Age icon. Eye-catching and informative.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY