Maisie Mammoth’s Memoirs – Perfect Picture Book Friday

What do you get when you cross a woolly mammoth’s memoir with facts?

A creative work of expository nonfiction about the Ice Age and its crazy cast of characters.

Text ©Prof. Mike Benton Illustration ©Rob Hodgson

This book also includes answers to your burning questions, like Why was the Ice Age so cold? How do you defrost a Woolly Mammoth? Who were the Neanderthals? and What are the La Brea Tar Pits? Inquiring minds want to know!

Here’s a peek at a couple of the creepier creatures.

Text ©Prof. Mike Benton Illustration ©Rob Hodgson

I don’t know about you, but I’d steer clear of a sloth the size of an elephant. However, Neanderthal humans weren’t afraid of them, because those cuddly giants were slow and docile…and ended up as dinner for those hungry humans.

Text ©Prof. Mike Benton Illustration ©Rob Hodgson

I would, however, run if I were being followed by a Giant Teratorn, “one of the largest flying birds” ever, with a wingspan of 23 feet. Apparently this enormous bird could soar like a hang glider.

If you’d like a taste of Maisie’s memoir, here’s a snippet of what Maisie recalls about her friend, the saber-toothed cat, aka Stella the Star:

“Once seen, never forgotten! Stella’s trademark was her megawatt smile and with canines that measured up to 11 inches (almost the height of this book), she was very hard to miss. If you thought that her roar was worse than her bite, you’d be dead wrong.”

I’m sure you’d like to hear about a saber-toothed salmon, a giant short-faced bear, or a Titanoboa constrictor named Victor the Villian who could swallow crocodiles in one gulp.

Gulp! I’m glad I wasn’t around in the Ice Age.

Back matter includes a glossary and a proper index (because Mike Benton is a professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Bristol).

Kids will keep coming back to this book for the fascinating facts, the quirky illustrations, and the tongue-in-cheek humor about some of the strange and wonderful creatures who inhabited the Ice Age (several appear to be gigantic versions of ones we share planet Earth with today). Kudos to Thames and Hudson for publishing this gem!


Make your own Ice Age shadow puppet.

Take a virtual field trip to the La Brea Tar Pits.

Read the graphic novel, It Came From the Tar Pits!

Title: Maisie the Mammoth’s Memoirs

Author: Prof. Mike Benton

Illustrator: Rob Hodgson

Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 2020

Themes: Ice Age, animals, STEM

Ages: Elementary school

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

15 thoughts on “Maisie Mammoth’s Memoirs – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      It is! One of the reasons I love reading picture books is how much I learn in such a small space. I believe that one of the most famous Jeopardy champions read nonfiction PBs to prep for the game show.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I’m thinking that making the mammoth’s voice one of an LA starlet recounting the exploits of her “friends, was in spired by the La Brea Tar pits’ location in LA. We visited the museum there a few years ago, and it’s so surprising how it sits in the middle of an urban, Hollywood environment. Definitely a fun choice!

  1. Annie Lynn/AnnieBirdd Music, LLC says:

    You definitely made me want to find this book Jilanne! what’s clever and inviting way to tell a story. I love the use of anthropomorphism; it makes the info coming at me more legit feeling. I anthropomorphize most things, just gotta make sure nobody is around, lol. This looks beautifully explained, broken down, and illustrated. Congrats to all involved in making Maisie Mammoth’s Memoirs! Stay well all!✌🏼🎶🎨📚🌻

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Hello, Annie! It is so fun to read. It’s one of those books that you can dip into whenever and wherever you want, a terrific way to hook kids. And yes, I do the same thing as you! My family gets the benefit of my “commentary” as I animate all kinds of things. I think it really appeals to kids, too. They’re often more “open” to anthropomorphism than adults. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Maria Marshall says:

    This looks like such a fun way to impart information. I really like the contents page. After all why should the back matter get all the fun & illustrations! I’m looking forward to checking this one out. Thanks, Jilanne.

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