My first dinosaur books and other junk


So we all started off somewhere on the road to dinosaur fandom. I started in the 70s, which was sorta this in-between time, with new discoveries starting to be made (Deinonychus, Supersaurus, and Ultrasaurus for example)… But yet no change in scientific opinions that had existed since the earliest days of paleontology had taken hold in the minds of scientists.

The books published for kids at the time reflected this old-school view of “slow and stupid” swamp-dwelling dinosaurs, as did the Saturday morning kids shows.

Here’s a gallery of some of the books I managed to dig up. They’re fossils in their own right!











This is a kids’ book based on the 1975 cartoon series “Valley of the Dinosaurs”

Yes, there was an original TV show. Yes, it was better than the 2009 movie.

I know, his origin has been retconned so many times now that no one knows what Godzilla is anymore. But to a little boy in 1978, he was a magical giant dinosaur who could breathe fire and fought other huge monsters.


I think for me, it was the Land Before Time. That and Primal Rage. 'Course if my memories weren’t repressed, I could actually remember which I encountered first.


In the 70s and 80s (moreso the 80s), we were just coming out of the mindset that dinos were slow taildraggers. You can still see this in both Land Before Time and Primal Rage. The Rexes stand way too straight, and all dinos drag their tails. The 90s was where the shift happened, and dinos were presented correctly.


Pretty sure I recognise the 1st, 5th & 7th books. Are you from the UK?


This was the magazine my parents used to buy me when I was growing up.


No. I am not from the UK. My elementary school library had a few of these, they even had a copy of Doctor Who Discovers Dinosaurs with Tom Baker on the cover. I played the “lucky dip” and won, I guess.

Dunno where the school’s library got them.

I’m pretty sure the Doctor Who one wasn’t terribly educational…

And the first book… They sold the “How and Why Wonder Books” at bookstores and grocery stores when I was little.



This one. As much as I love watching Doctor Who, I still can’t quite wrap my brain around how anyone could see this as educational in any sense.



Italian Stuff. Nice!

Molto bene, Roxy!



This thread had me digging through my “stash” of old and antiquated children’s books. Most of the older titles were given to me by my grandparents, who read them to their kids back in the 70s.

“The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs” was one of my favorites, with its color photos and detailed descriptions. Some of the illustrations are super ugly or otherwise inaccurate, but some of them aren’t half-bad.


Sadly, none of my books (the ones I owned) survived for long, they were read to tatters.

My favorites (the ones i owned) were 1,2,4,6,8,9,10, and 11. The others could be found at the school library.


There was one I remember - I found it in second grade - about the little English girl who discovered the ichthyosaur skeleton. Can’t remember the title of the book, though.

It wasn’t this exact one, but it was close.


Found this one too.


After elementary school and middle school, I started to read stuff by Bakker, Ostrom, and Horner - real paleontology stories, told by the ones who did the discovering, not told in third person perspective, as a “You should’a been there” sort of thing.


Oh my gosh, that Dinosaurs Little Golden Book takes me straight back to my childhood! I had 2 or 3 of the other ones, but that one just stands out in my memory for some reason.


Dinosaur Heresies, The Ultimate Dinosaur, and Dinotopia were my favorite dinosaur books growing up.


What did you think of Bakker’s “Raptor Red”?


Never read it cause I was mad. I wanted to write that exact same book. Almost 25 years later, and all I’ve written are a few short stories (only one published) with dinosaurs as the main character. I need to rectify that. I need to put Raptor Red back on my To Read pile along with the rest of Harry Harrison’s West of Eden’s series.

Oh, I should mention that Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder had a profound impact on me.


That was an excellent story, one of Bradbury’s best, next to his short piece that became “Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”. Classic Ray Harryhausen dinosaur movie!!