Sixty years ago children and dinosaur fans in general marvelled at the great illustrations of Rudolph Zallinger (both at the Yale Museum famous mural and at children books like Dinosaurs And Other Prehistoric Reptiles)… Artistically his stylish artwork remain a landmark, but Random House decided that given that there is an abyss between what was dinosaur science then and what we know about dinosaurs today it was about time that the Golden Book of Dinosaurs had a drastic revamping.
Brachiosaurus: from the iconic image of perennial swamp-dweller back in the Fifties to land-strutting and conifer roamer as we see it today. And Allosaurus? Well, Zallinger inspired the Marx toys I used to play with when I was a little kid (dragging tail an all)… but now we think of it as the nimble lion (or at least the leopard) of the Jurassic. Many grew up with The Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles in the late Fifties, Sixties and even the Seventies. It has been quite a challenge to completely re-do it. I feel fortunate (and humbled… never pretended to fill in Zallinger’s shoes) to have been given the opportunity to re-work the piece of memorabilia, once again with my partner in a series of books for children: the legendary Dr. Robert T. Bakker. With his palaeontological wisdom and imagination and his inimitable style, together we have had the challenging responsibility of the updating and rehashing of this also legendary, classic, “cult” item.
And it has been a mammoth task. Despite the obvious cover reference, we don’t pretend a direct comparison between the two books or indeed the artwork… we just wanted to show of how dramatically our view of dinosaurs has changed in only sixty years, using as a vehicle a publication that has been familiar to everybody fall these years.
Given that for technical reasons we spent an over long time to finish it (more than two years), it comes without saying that we had to keep changing and updating the enormous stream of new information we get from dinosaurology these days… and all is captured here. It is updated to the last minute! I have applied every possible digital and non-digital technique in anchoring Dr. Bob’s overflowing, expert narrative… and I’m hoping that the results are not disappointing. You will be the judge.
I am not allowed to show more than the cover for the time being (the book will be on sale in September… yes we will have to wait that long unfortunately!), but in the meantime in this Blog I will be showing once in a while snippets and artwork outtakes of the book that couldn’t make it to the final version… or artwork that differs drastically from what you are going to see there. There’s a lot of new stuff in my vaults now…Be prepared for a really thrilling ride in vertebrate evolution… just to give a little advance notice: any of my old T. rex depictions will become outdated instantly… and this book (and Dr. Bob Bakker) are to be hold responsible for it!