A very exceptional book, in many ways Readers of this critique, please don't think that I'm giving this book five stars simply because it was a childhood favorite (and I openly admit to having loved this book since I was a child) Dinotopia is the kind of book that is so easy laugh at at the mere description: two travelers stumble on a hidden island where humans and dinosaurs live together! Break out the grenades, cavewomen, and giant apes, right? The reason Dinotopia deserves five stars is that it rises above its seemingly 'silly' premise to make a book that will entertain and inspire people of any age The beautiful paintings are colorful enough for young children, interesting enough for older children, and deep and rich enough for adults James Gurney is so devoted to the world of Dinotopia, to the culture, the language, the architecture, the clothing, and the characters, that I am amazed even today at how seriously I take the book The story is told as a series of diary entries from the point of view of an explorer encountering the land for the first time, and there is (thank heaven!) very little plot or story conflict to get in the way of the presentation Mr Gurney takes advantage of the leftover space perfectly, by presenting audiences with a vibrant creation The thrill of Dinotopia rests surprisingly little on the dinosaurs themselves Looking at the book now, I am shocked to realize that I was as intrigued by the architecture, language, and customs of Dinotopia as anything else Those who think they could never swallow the idea of sentient dinosaurs (saurians in the book are treated as an interesting merging of peers with plowbeasts) may just be surprised at how unimportant the broad disregard of scientific accuracy is: Mr Gurney has included the dinosaurs to add a sense of wonder, to show culture differences, and even to seriously examine what life would be like if, well, if we could have a friendly chat with a fortyfoot taxi Altogether, this book is a wonder It actually raises good adult questions about societies and cultures, butimportantly, it fully succeeds in pulling even the intelligent reader into a truly fantastic world Enjoy! In the year , biologist and explorer Arthur Denison and his son, Will, set out on a sea voyage of discovery and adventure When a powerful typhoon wrecks the ship in uncharted waters, Arthur and Will are the sole survivors Washed ashore on a strange island called Dinotopia, they are amazed to find a breathtaking world where cities are built on waterfalls, people have found new ways to fly, and humans and dinosaurs live together in harmony With new discoveries at every turn, Arthur and Will embark upon their own separate journeys to unearth the mysteries of Dinotopia Shipwrecked in the South Pacific, Arthur Denison and his young son Will find themselves rescued by dolphins and delivered to the lost island of Dinotopia in this gorgeously illustrated picturebook/novel A Land Apart from Time, according to the book's subtitle, Dinotopia is a hidden continent where dinosaurs never went extinct, are highly evolved and intelligent, and now live in a peaceful society together with the humans that have washed up on their shores over the centuries Although their initial reaction is one of fear Arthur, believing that he and Will are in danger, even strikes Bix, the gentle Protoceratops translator who later becomes their great friend, at the beginning of the story eventually the Denisons adjust to life in this strange new world They travel first to Waterfall City, where they spend a few years learning about Dinotopia, before they continue on to Canyon City, where Will trains become a Skybax rider a human who rides the flying dinosaurs, Quetzalcoatlus Skybax and Arthur becomes fascinated by the world beneath the canyons Eventually Arthur sets off on a voyage into the subterranean world beneath Dinotopia, while Will continues his training The two are reunited in the Dinotopian capital, Sauropolis, but the implication is that Arthur's further travels, only hinted at in the narrative here, will form the basis for the sequel, Dinotopia: The World Beneath.Originally published in 1992, Dinotopia was an instant success, launching a series of children's novels set in its fantastic world, as well as two television series based upon it It also started a trend in which extended picturebook/novels became (for a time) quite popular, with threeDinotopia stories in this format, as well as Betty Ballantine's The Secret Oceans , and James Christensen's Voyage of the Basset Although long aware of Dinotopia I have owned an edition of the book for years I never happened to pick it up until I ran across the new special edition put out recently by Calla Books I'm glad I finally gave it a chance, as I found it an immensely engaging story, one which, with both text and image, drew me into its imaginative world Part travelogue, part fantasy, part picturebook, it is all magic, and is sure to leave readers young and old wantingI enjoyed poring over the beautiful illustrations, enjoyed the story, and had no sooner finished than I wanted to start the sequel, which I will now have to track down The special edition that I read contains additional material an introduction by Michael Patrick Hearn, an afterword from author/artist James Gurney, including sketches and unused artwork and makes the story available to readers once again Recommended to all dinosaur lovers, young and old, and anyone who appreciates truly immersive works of fantasy. One the most beautiful, creative books I've read in a while It's one of those stories that really brings me back to the simplicity and honesty of the natural world The most memorable part for me (besides the absolutely gorgeous illustrations) about their conception of time You of the west, Malik said, think of time moving in a straight line, from past to present to future Your eastern brothers regard time as a circle, returning endlessly in a cycle of decay and rebirth Both ideas have a dimension of truth If you were to combine geometrically the movement of the circle with the line, what would you have? He snapped his mouth shut and peered at me with an uncanny resemblance to my old schoolmaster.The spiral? I ventured.Yes, yes Or the helix They are our models of the passage of time, he said.So time moves on, but history repeats itself And then a little bit later: What hour is it? I asked, reaching instinctively for my pocket watch.Malik took a step back Time for Kentrosaurus to hatch Time to plant the millet Time for the magnolia buds to open Professor Denison, I'm afraid you persist in thinking of time as numbers You think of meaningless units of time weeks, hours, minutes based on what? Movements of faraway planets? Of what use to us is that? Why not pay attention to the precise 30year life cycle of the bamboo Guadua trinii or the exactly repeated mitotic cycle of the paramecium The whole earth has a heartbeat He paused, swung his tail from side to side, and squinted And some things happen too slowly for you to notice If you sit quite still, you can hear the grinding down of mountains, the stretching upwards of trees, the pushing forward of continents indeed the wearing away of this very waterfall Then finally, You will soon become a Dinotopian And when you do, you will measure your life in a different way And indeed, after reading this, I too saw the world in a different way.I no doubt appreciate the extensive time and research that must have gone into the making of this wonderful story Within these 150something pages, the author plants a tiny seed that blooms into a magical, and charmingly poetic world that I never want to leave.This is one of the books that will likely be with me forever. This book, since I was first shown it over a decade ago, has maintained the position in my library as being the most exquisitely illustrated of any book I have ever come across This, in a family where quality illustrated books are highly prised and acquired regularly One of my father's most recognisable tshirts was a picture from this book along with some footprint text The cover reminds me of AlmaTadema at his best. Enchanting!A Gulliveresque Arthur and Will Denison (a father and son) are shipwrecked on a lost island continent where dinosaurs and humans live peacefully together During their time on the island Arthur writes an anthropological journal detailing his discoveries with great illustrations like a Charles Darwin At some point his journal(s) would be discovered by James Gurney.Overall, there is nothing so amazing about the plot, what makes this book unique is Gurney's imagination and the amazing artwork that compliments the story so well The illustrations consist of everything Dinotopia was, even down to the footprint written language. This book is, in a word, extraordinary The artwork is sublime in its beauty conjuring images of a land lost to time yet not so lost as to be forgotten That is, it feels like the place could actually exist in our world Also, Gurney's talent for historical illustration is evident in all of the paintings herein; the Dinosaur Abu Simbel is breathtaking In terms of story, it is a great homage to Jules Verne's work and a moving tale of discovery in its own right I will DEFINITELY be reading the sequels in the future. One of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve ever seen Reminiscent of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, the story is rich and exciting and transports the reader to the island of Dinotopia where dinosaurs and humans live in perfect symbiosis A highlight is the inclusion of the dinosaur’s ‘footprint alphabet’ which allows the reader to go back through the book and decipher all the signs and symbols dotted throughout Written in diary form, this story also affords the opportunity to encourage children to write their own diary entry stories perhaps about a wondrous island of their own My copy, nowthan 20 years old and in the hands of my daughter is wellloved, battered and tattered and looks as though it may have been the original, washed up on the shores of Dinotopia itself. I realize that I'm waaaaay late to this party, but I just randomly found this book in the library, and I have never even heard Dinotopia before I'm ridiculously excited.My biggest problem with Jurassic Park has always been that I would have loved to just watch scientists doing science stuff, instead of any of the screaming and the running and this book does exactly that It is not an adventure novel, but an explorer's journal, full of sketches of everyday life in great, vivid, amazingly creative detail Had I come across this book in my teens, I would have been completely invested As things stand now, I have already looked to see if there is an RPG based on it, because I'm all there for thatI love the images, I love the ideas, I love the world as a whole (even though I have given up on fantasy worlds a while ago) The artwork is gorgeous, the setting is detailed and unique It was a couple of small inconsistencies (why would they call dinosaurs by their modern Latin names?), but I was willing to gloss over them for the sake of a truly original setting. I don’t normally review children’s book, but I was recently reminded of this story that I read with my dad growing up This is a “MUST READ” for all kids and particularly fans of dinosaurs as far as I’m concerned The art in this book is reason alone to pick it up (or any in the series) The pictures were mesmerizing growing up and I remember often just staring through it The story is also wonderful and a great compliment What makes this book particularly good, however, is that the story goes beyond an (acknowledged) somewhat unrealistic premise The story is full of the culture of “Dinotopia” as well as customs, language and architecture All in all, I believe this is a book that both children and adults will enjoy.Who should read it? All kids and fans of dinosaurs (of all ages!).See all my reviews andat www.ReadingToDistraction.com and @Read2Distract