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Mammoth is Mopey Encourages True Paleo Nerds, Not Just Science Fetish

When I first read David and Jennie Orr’s new children’s book Mammoth is Mopey, I was conflicted. On the one hand, the artwork in this alphabet book featuring prehistoric creatures is great. A clean and simple style that David is known for and is perfect for little readers. The pages aren’t cluttered with distracting and unnecessary peripheral information about the subjects that so many dinosaur books feel obliged to include. The font is large and clear, emphasizes the leading letter, all the things that experts recommend in books for developing reading skills.



A Bucktoothed, Excited Dinosaur
Estemmenosuchus is Ecstatic

But the subjects…

Cotylorynchus (co-tie-low-RINK-us)?

Estemmenosuchus (ess-temm-en-o-SOOK-us)?


These aren’t the household names of prehistoric animals.

I didn’t think my three-year-old would have the patience to let me figure out the pronunciations included on each page, much less repeat them back to me. Nice try David, maybe next time keep the paleontology simple.


And then I showed it to my son. Who totally loved this book. 


So I sat there, as I often do, considering how wrong I had been. I started to take a look around David’s blog, Love In the Time of Chasmosaurs, and I found where I had gone wrong. You see, David is truly a paleontology nerd, in the best way possible and I am not. I love the Land Before Time. David loves paleontology. Ask him about the Brontosaurus announcement or crowd-funding paleontology research and you’ll find out. I meanwhile, can tell you all about Jurassic Park.

Armored Dinosaur Painting
Ankylosaurus is Artistic.

The thing I hadn’t noticed about the book is that every creature, apart from the cute anthropomorphism’s, is as accurate to the paleontological science as it can be, something that is woefully lacking in many artistic representations of these animals. It’s much easier to draw the same 12 dinosaurs the same way they’ve been drawn since the 80s than to put in the hard research and work to get it right.

And the subjects? Well, yea, I want my child to know about Jeholopterus and Hyracotherium, even if it takes me a minute to figure out how to say them. I shouldn’t be the limiting factor in his learning.

So, my final recommendation?


Go to Mammoth is Mopey’s IndieGoGo page and buy this book. I did.


All images property of David Orr, used by permission. Also you should buy an awesome shirt.

Erich Bacher

Erich Bacher is a father of two boys and an IT professional. He owns copies of Transformers: The Movie (1986) on DVD and VHS, frequently misspells certain words, and has an extensive collection of ideas.

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  1. My kids aren’t so much into the dinosaurs yet, we have a couple of books collecting dust. . .but I think they’ll love the difficult word aspect of this. They are currently in love with multisyllabic words and trying to repeat them by carefully working out each syllable. Maybe this’ll hook ’em on the words and reel them into the dinosaurs.

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