I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
No human being has ever seen a triceratops or velociraptor or even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. They left behind only their impressive bones. So how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feathered? Could that fierce T.rex have been born with spots? In a first for young readers, the Sibert medalist Catherine Thimmesh introduces the incredible talents of the paleoartist, whose work reanimates gone-but-never-forgotten dinosaurs in giant full-color paintings that are as strikingly beautiful as they aim to be scientifically accurate, down to the smallest detail. Follow a paleoartist through the scientific process of ascertaining the appearance of various dinosaurs from millions of years ago to learn how science, art, and imagination combine to bring us face-to-face with the past.
I have often found it useful to read children's books on subjects that interest me--the authors usually boil down the subject to its basics and present it very clearly. For the person-on-the-street, this is usually the most about a subject that they are interested in. I spent 17 years as a natural history educator and I have used kids' books effectively to prepare myself on a number of subjects.
Having said that, I was somewhat disappointed in this book. The art is all lovely, but some of it has been around for a while and used in other books. In my opinion, photos of the fossils, showing what it was that the artist observed that led to a certain depiction, would have been a great improvement. Perhaps I was expecting too much.
Having said that, if you have a budding dino artist in your family, you could do worse than to buy this book for him/her as an encouragement.