Favourite Dinosaur Books (Part 1)

Children’s Books About Dinosaurs

Books have been written about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals for more than one hundred and fifty years. As our knowledge regarding these long extinct creatures has grown so has the number of titles dedicated to the Dinosauria. The first publications were scientific papers distributed amongst the academic community describing new fossil finds and discoveries. However, the Victorian popular press in England featured many accounts of these fossil finds and explanations of new theories, spurred on by ground-breaking scientific works such as Sir Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” that was first published in 1859. This book was one of the first publications of its kind that set out to explain a theory relating to Earth sciences to the layman, it was not written specifically for the academic fraternity but to permit the general public to perceive and understand a new, scientific concept.

New Fossil Discoveries Make Palaeontology Popular

Children’s books featuring dinosaurs followed much later, but with Natural History museums rapidly expanding to fit the new North American dinosaur discoveries into their exhibitions and with the public’s thirst to learn more about these giant reptiles, books both factual and fictional soon were becoming more plentiful. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes stories, wrote a book entitled “The Lost World” – a story first published in 1912 about an expedition to a South American plateau where dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals were encountered. This book was first serialised in the popular “Strand” magazine before inspiring a stop-animation film in the late 1920s featuring a number of dinosaur species.

Rapid Increase in Publications

The number of children’s books dedicated to dinosaurs increased dramatically in the 1950s, coinciding with the general rise in popularity of science books and science fiction. A number of once very common publications are exceedingly rare and a good quality, first edition can fetch hundreds of pounds if sold at auction. The rise in the number of dinosaur illustrators allowed dinosaur books to feature a number of colourful illustrations, this work being pioneered by the likes of Charles Knight and the great Czech artist and illustrator ZdenÃ�Â�k Burian. It was in the 1950s that the dinosaurs had their first commercial boom, with a lot of toys, games and models being made. Dinosaur models were even given away in breakfast cereal packets, such as the much sought after plastic prehistoric animals from Nabisco of the United States. Although once given away free with breakfast cereal packets, sets of these plastic models can fetch high prices at auction. Dinosaur books too, in this period had a phenomenal growth with a number of publishing houses producing fact-based books specifically for the children’s market.

Childhood Memories

Flicking through the pages of these books, invoke many childhood memories of reading about and discovering for the first time new dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. It is difficult to decide which ones would be a favourite, although it is hard to ignore the beautifully illustrated “Dinosaurs” – Watson and Zallinger published by Hamlyn or another later Hamlyn publication “Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals” – Leutscher that came a little later.

Perspectives from Different Countries

Reading books about dinosaurs which were published in different countries can provide a fascinating insight into how dinosaurs were viewed from different national perspectives. We are fortunate to have a number of Canadian and American dinosaur books in the collection, it is always a pleasure to read about dinosaurs such as Antrodemus, Brontosaurus and Trachodon – names of prehistoric animals that are no longer valid as taxons in scientific literature.

Old Theories Coming to the Fore

Browsing through such books, shows how much our views regarding the Dinosauria have changed. Most of the early children’s books feature the long-necked dinosaurs (Sauropods) depicting them as aquatic creatures living in swamps and lakes, where the water could support their great weight. This presumption about the behaviour of Sauropods has largely been discounted by the scientific community. Sauropods are seen as essentially terrestrial animals. However, recently an English science writer has re-ignited this debate by proposing that the majority of the dinosaurs did indeed live in water. A theory I first read about as a child in a book about dinosaurs has become prominent once again in academic circles.

Mini Dinosaurs Stegosaurus Dinosaur Book Reviewed

A Review of the Mini Dinosaurs Stegosaurus Dinosaur Book

It is often quite a task to find a suitable dinosaur book for kids, when looking for something to help them with their reading. Many parents try to encourage young children to develop a love of books by encouraging them to read books about subjects that they have a natural affinity for. Many children under three years of age develop an interest in and a fascination for dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, so finding a book about dinosaurs aimed especially at their age group can be a real boon for parents. The Mini Dinosaurs Stegosaurus book is a delightful little hardback that ticks all the boxes as far as parents and very young dinosaur fans are concerned. After all, a book that features a purple Stegosaurus is bound to be well received by very young palaeontologists.

Part of a Set of Dinosaur Reading Books aimed at Very Young Children

This book is part of a set of dinosaur inspired books all aimed at children from approximately three years of age and upwards. As the pages are turned a question about the dinosaur Stegosaurus is presented. The text is printed in a very clear, large, black font so very young children can easily make out the words and work out what the sentence is. Parents and grandparents can read through the book with their young charges, turning the pages to discover what questions are being posed about this particular armoured dinosaur from the Late Jurassic. The answers can be found by lifting a flap, part of the animal’s body such as the plate covered back, the legs or the famous tail with its set of spikes on its end. The adult can read through the book with the child, lifting the flap to reveal the answer to the question posed on that page about Stegosaurus. For instance, one of the questions presented is why did Stegosaurus have big feet? By lifting up the front leg of the picture of the Stegosaurus on that page, the answer is revealed. There is even a little more information to be found on the inside face of each answer flap, this helps the grown-up to explain the answer to the child and provides some facts about Stegosaurus to support the information given.

A Purple Stegosaurus

The bright purple, friendly Stegosaurus certainly appeals to very young children, and the tough hardback cover means that the book can be wiped clean should any sticky hands touch it. The spine of the book is quite thick and this makes it easy to grip, especially helpful when young children try to use the book on their own. Best of all, in the final section of this book there is a large, purple Stegosaurus cut-out for the children to unfold. By pulling the middle portion of the Stegosaurus drawing towards them and unfurling the tail a large stand-up drawing of a Stegosaurus is revealed.

A Well-designed Dinosaur Book For Young Readers

The book has been carefully thought about by the design team and the publishers and it makes an ideal “my first dinosaur book” for a budding dinosaur enthusiast. The simple layout and easy to read text will encourage children with their reading and word recognition and the fun questions and answers are based on what scientists think they know about this long extinct member of the Dinosauria. Recommended for children from three years plus, a very suitable dinosaur book for kids.