Cover of Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs?
Book 369 Astronomy 1987
How Did We Find Out About the Brain? Beginnings
1 spaceship-and-sun
Asimov fan
3 spaceships-and-suns
Target reader


An up-to-the-minute examination of one of our planet’s oldest, most puzzling mysteries. What caused the mass extinction of the prehistoric reptiles? Isaac Asimov explores the possible reasons, terrestrial and extraterrestrial, introducing young readers to facts about comets, meteors, and other interstellar bodies that may have caused the extinction of these animals 65 million years ago.

Although this book contains reasonably current speculation regarding the end of the dinosaurs, I’m not sure how enthusiastically I can recommend it to young readers. Maybe I should run it past my beautiful, brunette, brown-eyed daughter, who at age eight acted as dinosaur critic in our house, and see what she thinks. (I know in advance, however, what she’s going to say about the pictures.) Meanwhile, so far as I can tell it’s good and would help bring a bit of information into the lives of its target audience. Adults would get much of the same information from a collection of Asimov’s science essays and would probably be better off doing so.

This is the first of the books in “Isaac Asimov’s Library of the Universe” and the first of the science juveniles Asimov did for Gareth-Stevens. These books were to dominate the last few years of his career. As with the anthologies, which continue from this point on, I have mixed feelings about these books. They are generally very high quality—if pricey, given how short they are. They feature numerous, generally excellent, illustrations and sidebars full of interesting information. As with the anthologies, however, I find them a distraction from what I really appreciate about Asimov’s writing and simply wish there weren't so blasted many of them.

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