The Ice Age Exhibit at the University of Utah's Museum of Natural History has heightened interest in how Utah may have appeared 15,000 years ago. The books of fiction and non-fiction for young readers give much information about the glacial periods and could augment the exhibit.
Following is a list of books about the ice age (glacial epoch) that would be appropriate for readers K-12."Over the past 700,000 years there have been seven known glacial periods, each separated from the next by a period of warming called an interglacial period. Those of us presently living in the Northern Hemisphere may be enjoying one such warm period now . . . ." THE ICE AGES by Roy A. Gallant (Franklin Watts, 1985) provides facts, diagrams, charts and photographs to illustrate the many glacial periods with emphasis on the last "ice age," which came about 18,000 years ago. This is the setting of the exhibit at the University of Utah.
In Gallant's book a line drawing shows 30 percent of the earth's land surface covered by ice. Utah was one such area. The text explains, however, that the whole earth was not ice. The Caribbean Sea was a balmy 73 degrees.
While the time period of 15,000 years ago seems almost incomprehensible, a photograph of glaciers on Mount McKinley and ice peaks in Greenland today still attest to the age when bedrock floors were buried beneath masses of ice.
"The Ice Ages" gives information about the geological changes of the earth during the glacial moves, the animals - and thus the hunters - and what can be seen when visiting mountain glaciers today. A glossary and index add to the readability of the book, which is intended for readers in the fourth grade and above.
Two picture books that look at the ice ages by studying the animals that were there are PREHISTORIC ANIMALS (Daniel Cohen. Illustrated by Pamela Ford Johnson. Doubleday, 1988) and DINOSAURS WALKED HERE: AND OTHER STORIES FOSSILS TELL (by Patricia Lauber. Bradbury, 1987).
Cohen's oversized book details the rise of mammals and birds on the earth from the time of the dinosaurs through the ice age and beyond, and answers many questions about the anatomy, behavior, habitat and fight for survival of more than 20 prehistoric animals such as the wooly mammoth, brontotherium, teloceros and mastadon. The simple text uses phonetic spellings (Baluchitererium - Ba-LUKE-eh-thee-ree-um) to assist with pronunciation of the multi-syllable animal names. Full-color illustrations make this a book for young readers to browse through time and time again.
The Lauber book is an introduction to fossils using outstanding full-color photographs and drawings. It is intended to be a "diary of the past" explaining about the fossil bones, teeth, shells, leaf prints, eggs, insects and animal tracks from the times of great change in the earth's climate, particularly an ice age. One example is of the wooly mammoth that lived during the times when huge sheets of ice covered large parts of the earth. ". . . Then when the ice last shrank back to the polar regions and mountaintops about 9,000 to 12,000 years ago, the wooly mammoth died out for reasons no one knows."
"Dinosaurs Walked Here" is a book that will give much information about the scientific findings for those who enjoy science or want to become science sleuths and go on a "dig" of their own.
The time between 35,000 and 12,000 years ago is known as the Pleistocene period. It is believed that hunters began to flourish. Evidence of bones and artifacts suggest that they wore clothes of animal skins and made tools such as knives and spears.
Jan Brett in THE FIRST DOG (Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1988) proposes that it may have been during this time that the first wild animals were domesticated.
Kip, the cave boy, meets Paleowolf who not only protects the boy from savage animals but reaps the rewards of leftovers from a camp fire.
It is an exciting tale of adventure where the bond of man and animal is made but it is truly an outstanding pictorial feat. The paintings, many of which are two-page spreads, are framed with detailed sketches that enrich the central illustration. Pictographs, drawings in rough-hewn wood and ancient artifacts all add to the beauty of the book.
Other books about the ice ages that could enrich the Ice Age Exhibit at the University of Utah's Museum of Natural History, which may be out of print but could be found on library shelves, are:
"The Study of the Ice Age." Rose Wyler and Gerold Ames.
"An Ice Age Hunter;" Lucile Watson
"The Great Ice Age," Christopher Maynard
"Frozen Earth: Explaining the Ice Ages," R.V. Fodor
"Mystery Mammals of the Ice Age - Great Lakes Region," Julian Holman and Dick Gringhuis
"Attar of the Ice Valley," Leonard Wibberley
"The Mammoth Hunters," Heather Emery
"They Lived in the Ice Age," Julian May
"Album of Prehistoric Man," Tom McGowen
"Giants from the Past," Donald Crump
"Older Than the Dinosaurs: The Origin and Rise of the Mammals," Edward Ricciuti
"Introducing Prehistory," Avraham Ronen.