A few weeks ago Clark entered that most magical stage of boyhood–the dinosaur loving phase. The amusing phase where little kids can accurately identify numerous species of dinosaurs and accurately pronounce their polysyllabic names. At the very start of the phase, before he got really into it and we didn’t have any dino books in the house I found Dinotopia on our shelf. All I really knew of this was the paperback series in the juvenile fiction at the library and what the big hardcover books looked like, but I didn’t really know what they were about. In a nutshell: a boy and his father are shipwrecked and dolphins bring them to an island where dinosaurs are not extinct and they live cooperatively with humans (all of whom have been shipwrecked, or are descended from shipwrecked people.) The dinos and humans can communicate and have their own languages and culture and it’s all very Swiss Family Robinson with wonderfully detailed sketches and maps and such. Wonderfully imaginative and someday I’ll read the rest of the books.
As an aside, our two favorite informational dinosaur books which we bought are Dinosaur Valley and Dinosaurs Everywhere!. Dinosaur Valley is, I believe, by a Japanese author and the soft illustrations definitely have a Japanese feel to them. When I bought the book I imagined that Clark might like it when he was 8, but he loves it now and we’ve read it many many times (in fact, when he plays with his dinosaurs he often says he is playing “dinosaur valley.”) It is a fictional story of an Oridromeus dinosaur,but shows what life was like then through the story.
Dinosaurs Everywhere! is a good introduction to dinosaurs, what they ate, how big and small they were, how their bones are found and so on. If you have a little kid in your life who likes dinosaurs I highly recommend both these books.