Like my previous two Tales of Prehistoric Life books, Pterosaur Trouble and Ankylosaur Attack, the intention on Plesiosaur Peril was to create a readable, age-appropriate storybook that both looks real and also reflects the genuine science on these animals and their habitat to the greatest possible degree. I had wonderful support in the goal of accuracy, both from my editor Valerie Wyatt and from the good folks at Kids Can Press (see this post for an epic example).
Our science consultant—paleozoologist Darren Naish—was absolutely critical to my attempt at scientific accuracy (or given all the unknowns, scientific plausibility) on both Pterosaur Trouble and Plesiosaur Peril. Naish was involved in both books from the first steps, consulting on both the character designs and the story elements. I sent Darren rough plot outlines and shopping lists of activities, behaviours, and interactions that I pictured for the story. He gave me detailed feedback, drawing upon the knowns of the fossils record (all too few!) and the plausible inferences that are made currently by those who study the fossil evidence.
To give readers a window into this behind-the-scenes process and a chance to deeply explore the behaviours of plesiosaurs, Naish has posted a lengthy reflection on these weird and wonderful marine reptiles over at his Tetrapod Zoology blog at Scientific American: (continue reading…)