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DINOTOPIA by James Gurney


A Land Apart from Time

by James Gurney & illustrated by James Gurney

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1992
ISBN: 1-878685-23-6

 A sweet, visually attractive utopian fantasy about an island where humans and dinosaurs--not to mention mammoths, flying reptiles, and exotic plants--live together in peace. Races and sexes are equal, long life is assured, and innovation is used to benefit the inhabitants, all thanks to the dinosaurs' benign influence. Literary stepchild of Robinson Crusoe and Shangri-La, midwifed by the Walts (Disney and Kelly), this creative anachronism purports to be a long-lost diary chronicling the discoveries of biologist Arthur Denison and his son after an 1862 shipwreck. The book's heart is its illustrations, presenting Gurney's imaginary society in the loving detail of the National Geographic--or a child's extravagant inventions. Much is made in the attendant publicity of the scientific accuracy, meaning that (though they speak seven languages, invent writing, and use tools) the dinosaurs look right. The technology surrounding the gliders, submarines, and helium balloons is also a little fuzzy, but by the time they appear the reader will either be charmed or alienated. More wistful fancy than a new vision of a cure for humanity's ills, but some adults--and children--will love it dearly. (Fiction. 8+)