Friday, December 4, 2009

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Tyrannosaurus by Janet Riehecky

The Child's World published a series of dinosaur titles for young readers in the eighties, written by Janet Riehecky. I got my hairy little primate hands on their Tyrannosaurus title recently. It features illustrations by Diana Magnuson, a veteran children's book illustrator. Magnuson doesn't have a whole lot of paleoart on her resume, but she illustrated about half of the books in this series. Judging by the watercolor pages she did for this title, she did a fine job.

The colors aren't lurid, sticking to muted greens, grays, and browns. Naturally, most of the book depicts the Late Cretaceous which T. rex inhabited, but an early spread accurately depicts a Jurassic environment with an Allosaurus, some Camptosaurus, and a Stegosaurus. A keen-eyed child would easily be able to differentiate the Allosaurus from T. rex, by virtue of its lighter build, bulkier, three-fingered hands, and smaller head.

This one has to be one of my favorites, if only for the gore factor. I'm pretty sure that the stance would have been impossible for a T. rex. But what the heck. That's a big hunk of neck-meat.

T. rex Takes a Bite

Throughout the rest of the book, T. rex is depicted with the correct, horizontal-backbone posture. Riehecky is a bit of a dinosaur nut, and she consulted with the Field Museum to ensure the accuracy of the information.

I'm really eager to find more titles in this series - what's most intriguing is that Riehecky strays from the big names, devoting titles to Hypsilophodon, Saltasaurus, Baryonyx, and Oviraptor. I just found a used copy of the Baryonyx book on Barnes and Noble, by a different illustrator. Look for that one soon...


  1. I got the whole set. I bought it from ebay and paid it at an affordable price, too. Great books!

  2. My Baryonyx book just shipped. So stoked.

  3. I got 6 of these books today, in addition to the 2 more I already had. The best thing is, we see a feathered (not by much, but still feathered) Oviraptor! They even pointed out the possibility of feathers on its arms.

  4. I can't believe I only did one scan from this... good old days, I guess. I'll have to scan more and revisit it.


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