I wasn't familiar with Childcraft, but it is apparently a "multi-volume illustrated anthology for children" that has been around since the 1930s (or so says Wikipedia). Dinosaurs! is impressively comprehensive for a kids' book, covering a tad under 300 pages (excluding the glossary, index etc.), and is richly illustrated throughout. One doesn't have to go any further than the cover to find Bakker and Sibbick references, including what appears to be a weirdly hornless version of Sibbick's Normanpedia Ceratosaurus. This is explained inside as follows:
"Most scientists think that only the male certaosauruses [sic] had a horn, and that they used this horn...when fighting each other at mating time."
Damn those Most Scientists and their constant baseless speculation! No wonder no one listens to a word they say.
It's always fun when artists replicate others' interpretations of certain animals, but then alter their poses and place them in different situations. The very specifically quirky creatures become characters of their own, and it's enjoyable to keep up with their continuing adventures through the pages of various unrelated kids' dinosaur books. Here, artist John Dawson has his very Sibbickian ceratosaurus happily devouring a camptosaur carcass - until Old Man Allosaurus turns up to drone on about the good old days when there were only tetanuran theropods around here, the freakishly large tree ferns were greener, and speculatively fluffy juveniles did as they were told.
While Dawson's ceratosaurs are at least adopting notably different postures to Sibbick's, his Allosaurus is altogether more cheekily familiar to anyone who knows the Normanpedia well. Yes, it's eating while lying down (which is actually a nice idea in itself), but the torso section instantly gives it away. The head, with its forward vision-blocking face nubbin, is a dead ringer, and the position of the right arm is identical. Even the colouration is remarkably similar. Still, Dawson was far from unique in slavishly reproducing Sibbick's slightly odd, arm-flexing take on Big Al - why, its plastic mould-friendly chunkiness even meant that it was immortalised in toy form.
In addition to the typical post-Normanpedia Sibbick clones, Dinosaurs! manages to include the obligatory Bakkerian Deinonychus, always running at full pelt, always sporting a fetching dewlap. Admittedly, this is a particularly well executed (by Jean Helmer) example of the meme, with lovely detailing and a very dapper red-headed colour scheme. I like the composition, with the impression given that the animals are tumbling down the side of the page in pursuit of their quarry (Tenontosaurus, of course, illustrated on the opposite page).
Besides, at least copying Bakker ensures that your dromaeosaur won't end up looking like...this thing. There's something quite enjoyably dainty and delicate-looking about this Velociraptor, what with its tiny hands and rather diminutive sickle claw. It's just a product of unfortunate '80s thinking, which saw artists suppressing the very birdlike traits of these animals (when they weren't just copying one another. The artists, that is). Here, artist Robert Hynes pairs Wile E Raptor with his eternal foe, the angry squatting Protoceratops. Spoiler: things don't end well.
Elsewhere, the most '80s Oviraptor possible (it has a mane of cool blue feathers, but otherwise steers well clear of being birdlike) noshes messily on someone's abandoned eggs. This one's by Colin Newman. I do love the technique used for the sky, but the animal combines a Sibbickian concentric ring skin pattern with a finely polished finish reminiscent of a 4x4 vehicle purchased by a money-crazed, wantonly aggressive businessperson. The nose horn was widespread in reconstructions at the time, and was the result of a misinterpretation of an incomplete skull (the crest was broken off). Where the mane started out, I'm not sure; it must have seemed quite radical at the time. These days, of course, we know that oviraptorosaurs were feathered like birds (although no one told Papo).
Ornithomimosaurs always looked thoroughly indecent in art, so it was a relief for palaeoart fans everywhere when firm evidence was discovered that they were fully floofed-up after all. While artists had, by this time, moved away from the terrifying '70s visions of spindle-limbed monstrosities with tiny human fingers on the far-away extremities of seemingly endless long, thin arms (the better to reach through the tiny crack between your wardrobe doors), '80s ornithomimosaurs could still look a bit creepy. I do admire Jim Pearson's technique here - it's rather reminiscent of John McLoughlin's work. But Christ...the eyes. The eyes alone. Even discounting the worryingly humanoid anatomy of the arms, with their clawless, frog-like fingers, those huge, wet eyes are just plain disconcerting. Brrr.
For whatever reason, perhaps the most 'old school' theropod illustration (in execution if nothing else) stars none other than Sexy Rexy, here shown being overly affectionate towards a hadrosaur, who has unfortunately been accidentally asphyxiated as a result. It's got it all - green-grey warty dino skins, a number of identical smoking conical volcanoes, and even a swamp. It's a wonderfully painted piece, though (by Kinuko Craft), and for all that it's quite retro in appearance, it's still aged much better than...
...This. There isn't a lot I can add. And no, Spinosaurus being all stumpy-limbed isn't a vindication of vintage illustrations that depicted it with a head so generic as to be shapeless. (I can see you commenters coming a mile off.) With apologies to Jim Pearson, because hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, and I do like your style.
Speaking of outdated interpretations...would you believe that one Gregory S Paul™ produced illustrations for this book? Paul's illustrations stick out like an especially well-researched and anatomically correct thumb among all the Sibbick-u-like dinosaurs - in particular, his accurately fat-necked apatosaur is a remarkable sight in a book like this. But I'll feature that another time. For now, here's a remarkably prescient feathered non-avian theropod; or at least, it would have been, were it not for the true identity of the animal it's intended to represent. For this remarkably dromaeosaur-noggined creation is, in fact, supposed to be Avimimus. As in, the oviraptorosaur. Yeah, we can laugh about how literally wrong-headed this is, but the animal was very poorly understood at the time. Typically, artists just copied John Sibbick's even more inaccurate version (at least the body in Paul's is nearer reality) as seen in the Normanpedia, and you'll note that Paul has the animal's remiges attached along its second digit. So very many artists still can't get that right.
And finally...Troodon has been subject to a few peculiar hypotheses over the years. Everyone's familiar with Dale Russell's 'Dinosauroid', the comical green lizard man that made quite a name for himself in '80s and '90s dinosaur books, before being pecked to death by a swarm of feathered maniraptorans. However, few recall the one about Troodon being the only known carnivorous ornithischian.
It's not so surprising in the light of troodontid teeth being misinterpreted as belonging to a pachycephalosaur, and possible omnivory in Troodon has been discussed again more recently (notably by Holtz et al.). However, Dinosaurs! is the only children's book I've come across to give the 'Troodon as ornithischian' idea a proper airing (and a life reconstruction by Roberta Polfus). The text describes the animal as 'looking like Hypsilophodon', so that's what we get in the illustration. Well, sort of. Over on Facebook, Patrick Bate remarked on how the dinosaurs were lacking in texture and simplistic-looking when compared with the mammal up front, which is "drawn down to the tiniest hair". This is very pertinent, and one gets the strong impression that the artist wasn't entirely sure what they were supposed to be drawing...which isn't too surprising. Imagine the brief...
Coming up next: more '80s! More! This book cannot be contained in a mere single post.