Dinotopia

by - July 16, 2019

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Dinotopia is the story of a naturalist named Denison and his son Will who are stranded on a mysterious island in the 1800's. Carried ashore on the back of dolphins they soon find themselves alone on a strange beach, and when they strike inland they discover that the land is inhabited by dinosaurs as well as people. The dinosaurs however are intelligent and (mostly) peaceful- it seems that dinosaurs and people coexist peacefully. 

As they are taken into the interior of the island they come to a dinosaur hatchery tended by humans, and learn that all the people on the island are descended from shipwreck survivors. The dinosaurs bring a long history of knowledge and wisdom to the society they have built alongside humans, and everyone seems to play a role, for the betterment of all. The Denisons learn that as newcomers they are expected to go to Waterfall City, the intellectual heart of the island, to register and apply their skills. Denison wants to leave the island, of course, and is not happy to learn that no one has done so. 

Over time he and his son make their way to Waterfall City and experience amazing sights along the way. While it's true that the isolated location and treacherous seas around the island make leaving difficult, if not impossible, the reality is that Denison soon learns to love Dinotopia, and soon has no will to leave. 

The story is told in the grand tradition of a framing story, where the author "finds" the manuscript in a university library and brings the story to the masses. It's told in both words and pictures, and the illustrations really bring the place to life, as the story is told through both sketches of everyday life and beautiful full color illustrations. 

Dinotopia is a fantastic picture book with an intriguing "lost world" story and iconic art.   


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All image are copyright jamesgurney.com and are used with permission for non- commercial use only.  

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