Editor: Steve White

2012, Titan

Filed Under: Nonfiction

Look, there’s not much of a bush to beat around here. Let’s start with a simple question, are you in favor of coffee table books? No? Very well, carry on, friend; we’re done for today. If yes, a follow up question: dinosaurs are fucking awesome, true or false? A second follow-up: dinosaurs were real, true or false? If you answered false to either, hit the road you crazy creationist weirdo. (Perhaps this creepy Amish romance novel is more to your liking.)

Okay for all the sane people  still here: boy, do I have the book for you. This has the distinction of being the last piece of mail I received at my former address, an apartment I was all too happy to be rid of. What a pleasant surprise to open the box and find this cover rawring up at me; what a fine send-off from the book review gods. I read it cover to cover twice in one sitting, nestled in a throne/fort I crafted out of packed-up boxes of books (seriously). It was an amazingly great way to unwind after a very long day.

This book compiles the paleoart of a number of different artists. It’s full of interviews with them talking about their craft, as well as explanations of the paintings and the creatures they bring to life. I don’t know what else there is to say. It’s pretty interesting stuff, how they take paleontological data and interpolate into into huge, life-like scenes of dinosaurs being awesome.

CRUNCH! Tell me this doen’t make you squee like a little kid being offered a ride in the firetruck with the separate steering wheel for the back wheels. Pardon the image quality, my new apartment doesn’t have many lights yet.

I’ve actually read a good number of dinosaur books in my day, and I’ve got to say, this is right up there with some of the best I’ve seen. The pictures are lush and colorful (there’s even a page that pulls out into a giant panorama scene) and the range of creatures covered is varied–and described to satisfying detail in the accompanying text. But that’s just icing on the Jurassic cake of badass dinosaur paintings.

The very first thing I did when I opened this book was flip through the pages quickly to see how many different pictures of stegosauruses there were. If you’re a manchild like me, or perhaps even a real child, and you already know which dinosaur you would look for, you should probably go out and pick up this book when it comes out next week.

I hope next time I move someone sends me a copy of a book full of drawings of giant robots fighting in space.

[A review was requested and a review copy provided.]