“We humans may never invent a tractable time machine, but no matter.
As the pages of this book reveal, paleoart is time machine enough,
transporting us millions of year back into deep time.”
– Scott D. Sampson, introduction to Dinosaur Art
When I was a kid growing up in the '70's, I loved anything to do with dinosaurs. I played with toy dinosaurs, read books about dinosaurs, owned a Land of the Lost lunch box, and oftentimes wondered what it would be like to live in a world inhabited by nightmarish carnosaurs and giant sauropods. The scientific speculation involving dinosaurs – what they looked like, how they lived, why they died, etc. – ignited my imagination like no other subject and ultimately got me interested in reading science fiction and fantasy.
Now, as a father with two young daughters, I was a little surprised – and, frankly, a little proud – when during a recent visit to the bookstore, they spotted an oversized book on the "new release" table entitled Dinosaur Art: The World’s Greatest Paleoart edited by Steve White and made a beeline right for it. While flipping through the pages with them, I was immediately taken back to the days when I was a kid – I fondly remembered my How and Why book of Dinosaurs – the illustrations in this book were nothing short of breathtaking, visually spectacular, and I knew that I had to get it, ahem, for the kids, of course.
In the book’s foreword, Philip J. Currie talks about the dynamic relationship between art and science: “Artists have been inspired by dinosaurs ever since they were first discovered early in the nineteenth century and there have been many fine illustrations that conceptually bring the animal back to life. This is a creative process that also involves both the artist and scientist. Muscles and skin flesh out the bones, the animals are often incorporated into their environments, and even the behaviors can be portrayed. A good piece of art looks realistic, and when it really works, it brings the fossils to life even for the scientist!”
After buying the book and bringing it home, my daughters and I explored its pages for hours – they’re still upstairs looking through it while I write this blog – and I could see their imaginations being ignited just as mine had been so many decades earlier.
Magnificent, awe-inspiring, mind-blowing… words truly can’t describe the level of artistic mastery showcased in this collection.
Bottom line: If you’re a dinosaur aficionado, regardless of age, you need to experience Dinosaur Art. This is a book to be savored, shared, and cherished.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.
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