Thursday, May 21, 2015


Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

Dinotopia is the story of Denison, a naturalist who is shipwrecked with his son Will on a mysterious island in the 1800's. Carried to shore on the backs of dolphins, Denison and Will find themselves in a strange land. Alone on the beach, they decide to strike inland- and are greeted by  a chorus of hootings- what could it be? They soon find out, and are taken in by a band of dinosaurs. It is here where they meet Bix, a dinosaur who can speak and will, in time, become their guide and friend. 

As they are taken into the interior of the island they come to a dinosaur hatchery, where they begin to learn more about Dinoptpia and discover that all the human inhabitants are descended from shipwreck survivors. They quickly learn that dinosaurs and humans coexist peacefully on Dinotopia for the most part, and that the dinosaurs bring the millenia long acquisition of knowledge and wisdom tothe partnership. Everyone on Dinotopia seems to have a role to play, where they sue their talents or skills for the betterment of all. Barter has replaced coinage, and it does truly seem like an idyllic society. 

Denison and Will learn that they are expected to go to Waterfall City to register and apply their skills. Denison wants to leave the island, of course, and is not happy to learn that no one has ever done so, apparently, due to the trwacherous conditions around the island. He and Will set off, seeing some sights and visiting several towns until they finally arrive at Waterfall City. A stunning place- a city built at the confluence of several majestic wterfalls- and the intellectual capital of Dinotopia. Here denison discovers wonder after marvel- and as he acclimates himself to the great library there and learns more about Dinotopia, he loses all desire t oleave. 

Will, meanwhile, aspires to be a Skybax rider, those being the brave souls soar the airways on great pterosaurs, and learns that his journey to do so wil require much training and travelling. Will and his dad eventually travel north to Treetown, a wonderful place where people live in elaborate constructed tree dwellings, and from there encounter a great citadel abocve the clouds and a city among the canyons, where Will will make his final effort to be a SKybax rider. What will their future hold for them? And what will be the ultimate fate of denison and Will on Dinotopia? 

This is a wonderful book, 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- much like Edgar Rice Burroughs did. The story is told in both words and pictures, with sketches of everyday life on Dinotopia and beautiful full color illustrations. has that sense of wonder- the same feeling you get from Middle Earth or other fantasy lands where you can lose yourself for many glorious hours. A place where many of us would like to live, or visit- a place where imagination reigns. I'd go there in a shot. 

Dinotopia is a fantastic book , perfect for children and adults who still have that childlike sense of wonder. 

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


  1. " It has that sense of wonder- the same feeling you get from Middle Earth or other fantasy lands where you can lose yourself for many glorious hours." With an endorsement like that, I'll be adding this to my wish list.

    I vaguely watching bits and pieces of this when it was a TV mini series. I don't remember much so it shouldn't influence my reading when I get around to the book.

    1. I hope you get a chance to read it- it's a bog coffee table book and is really nice, both the artwork and the story (I like the artwork so much I bought one of the piece as a print). I remember the miniseries too, was excited about it and I remember being disappointed. The books though (especially this first one) are good.

  2. My son is obsessed with dinosaurs and this sounds like a fantastic chapter book to read aloud to him. Plus it just sounds completely magical. Thanks for sharing!

    1. This would be a great book to share with someone who loves dinosaurs. There are no real scary moments, and it's very clean cut- and imaginative too. And the artwork is fabulous. Enjoy!