Our Favourite, Fantastic Dinosaur Books (Part 2)

By |2024-01-02T06:57:57+00:00August 26th, 2012|Book Reviews, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|5 Comments

Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles (Jane Werner Watson)

Continuing the discussion amongst team members at Everything Dinosaur about favourite dinosaur books, it would be remiss of us if we did not include the beautifully illustrated “Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles”.  This hardback dinosaur book was first published in 1966 (we think), our office copy dates from 1973 and is the sixth re-print of this wonderful children’s dinosaur book.  Sub-titled “Mighty Monsters of the Past”, this book was written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by the fantastically talented Rudolph F. Zallinger.

Favourite Dinosaur Books

The Front Cover of this Favourite Dinosaur Book

Beautiful dinosaur book.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The book provides a brief preamble discussing life before the dinosaurs starting with the move onto land by certain species of fish, the lush forests of the Carboniferous before moving onto depict life in the Age of Reptiles (Triassic to Cretaceous).  The text is easy to read for a young child and inserts facts about the prehistoric animals covered within a narrative that explains what is going on in the superbly illustrated pictures by Rudolph F. Zallinger.  The artwork is simply amazing, and the award winning Zallinger depicts his subjects in a series of lively dioramas with many of the prehistoric animals depicted as highly colourful creatures.  For example, a red and blue Allosaurus or a blue and purple Plateosaurus.

Ornitholestes and Archaeopteryx Illustrated by Zallinger

Beautiful and detailed drawings.

Picture credit: Rudolph F. Zallinger

In the above illustration, an Ornitholestes (theropod dinosaur) is pursuing early birds such as Archaeopteryx.  This illustration draws heavily on the work of another great dinosaur illustrator Charles Knight.  Zallinger’s attention to detail and desire to show such terrific backgrounds is perhaps what makes the artwork in this book so outstanding.  Although a lot of the illustrations within this book are now outdated in terms of our knowledge about the Dinosauria, for instance sauropods are depicted as aquatic, swamp-dwelling creatures the pictures are simply wonderful to behold.

Running through the book is a timeline starting with the emergence of mankind and then slowly travelling backwards in time to 293 million years ago (when the timeline suddenly runs out).  The last animal featured is the Eusthenopteron,

The Timeline at the Foot of Each Page

Travelling backwards in time.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the timeline, a Styracosaurus is seen preceding the emergence of Triceratops towards the end of the Cretaceous geological period.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic series contains articulated figures of both Triceratops and Styracosaurus (whilst stocks last): Articulated Dinosaurs – Beasts of the Mesozoic.

The book may be outdated, but it still provokes many happy childhood memories for team members at Everything Dinosaur.