Queries regarding vintage,
collectible dinosaur books.
occasionally receive emails from other collectors of vintage dinosaur
books inquiring about particular books.
collector remembers certain details about the book, but
cannot recollect the title or name of the author.
I have been
through this myself. When I first started rebuilding
and expanding my dinosaur book collection
ago, there were four books that haunted me. I have
since found three. The fourth one still haunts
me because I
remember so little about the book. It was written at
the elementary school level, it contained color
(I remember it contained an illustration of an
Ornitholestes), and it was published before 1952 (I
oldest brother disparaging the book because it was older
than he was!--he was born in 1952). So,
information to go on, but I am sure if I see it I will
some queries that I have received from viewers of my web
page regarding old dinosaur books.
Please take a
look at these descriptions and if any of them ring a
bell, contact me at
and I will
forward your response to the person sending in the query.
query number 7, added 2/27/11
Thanks to your excellent site I have
beeen able to identify (and hopefully re-purchase) two
dinosaur books I fondly remember from my childhood. However, my
favourite book still
eludes me and I was hoping that I could place a query on your
site. The book was a hardback
published in the UK around the early 1970s, a big book (in size not too
many pages) and had
a predominantly white cover with a Stegosaurus and Allosaurus(?)
engaged in battle. Both
dinosaurs are colored dark brown and what always struck me was the
to 'bite' the tail of the carnivorous dinosaur (not bad for a
plant eater!). I swear the book was
entitled "in the Days of the Dinosaurs" - however, I don't recognise it
as the book of the same
name quoted in your list.
This book, almost by itself, pushed me
into a career in science - although bizarrely I ended
up as a Physicist rather than a Paleontologist.
Any help would be much
Ian, Bristol UK
query number 6, added 2/4/11:
This one is
Nick Burgmeier and I just recently found your site while
searching for an old book I've been trying to find.
Your site is
excellent and brings back many old memories.
So I have
a book of my own that I cannot for the life of me
remember many details about. I've searched Ebay, Amazon, and
boxes and boxes
of old books, but to no avail. I was thinking about it
one day and really wanted to look at it. I found all of
my old dinosaur
books except that one! I don't remember much about it,
but I'll try to give you some details.
If I remember correctly the book was a darker blue color, was
written for an mid-upper elementary school level, and all images
were in color. It was hard-cover and the dimensions were probably
10-12" wide by 15" tall. I had it in the late 80's, but judging
by the style I'm guessing it was published before that. It was maybe,
40 - 50 pages. The two main things that stick out to me are
the artwork and the section on extinction.
The artwork was your typical old school, lumbering type dinosaurs,
but the thing that really made it distinct was the fact that
almost all of the dinosaurs had sort of a tired, droopy eyed look. Many
of them were "fat." Not a bloated, distended fat, but
more droopy with rolls. They almost had a sickly look about them. They
were always presented in more of a "natural" habitat
type setting. Usually there were multiple dinosaurs per page going
about their dinosaur way. I distinctly remember one dinosaur
suffering in a pool of mud.
As for the extinction section, I just remember it went over
multiple scenarios. It talked about the asteroids, the possibility of
poisoning, disease, and I think there were a few others presented as
I'm afraid that is all I can really remember of this particular
book. Hopefully that will be enough to spark somebody's memory.
Thanks and good luck finding your other books!
Unanswered query #3, added 5/23/10:
This query is from me: when I
was young my family had an encyclopedia that was published sometime
World War I and II. All
of the volumes had a color illustration on the cover. One volume
had a color illustration of a
Stegosaurus being stalked by
prehistoric men. If my memory is correct, the "cavemen" were
hiding behind some
vegetation in the
foreground. Does this ring a bell?
BELOW ARE QUERIES THAT HAVE
Query number 5, sent 2/4/11:
This one is from "The Core":
I am searching for a dinosaur book
that I had around 1971-1973. I
picked it up at a dime store. It was a smaller rectangular
soft cover book which had at least 3 scenes in which you placed the
prehistoric rub-ons onto the back drop and created your
own prehistoric scenes. The rub-ons (which you were supposed to
“rub-on” by pressing/scribbling the back of image with
a pencil) consisted of dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals and cave men, and
the different size skulls to prehistoric man. I
remember creating a wonderful caveman/mammoth battle. Anyone have one,
or recall the name?
Added 2/13/11: It looks like we have
an answer. Please read the email from Frank Corleone:
I believe that I may possibly have the answer to The Core's
question. The 'book' in question is here beside
me, as I type this. I remember being absolutely enthralled that
my Dad brought this booklet home for me.
It is entitled, "MONSTERS TO CAVEMAN" with a 1967 copyright by
Patterson Blick. "INSTANT
PICTURE BOOKS NO. 1" ISBN 0 900862 17 3. Printed in Great
So the timeline of this publication is right, as I would've
received mine in the early '70's as well. True
to form, there were "rub-ons" that you could customize the
provided scenes with. There was a dinosaur
scene and rub-ons, a flying reptile scene and rub-ons, and the
prehistoric man and mammoth scenes as
well, with corresponding rub-ons. All-in-all a modest little
publication, but one that too is etched in my
I may be able to provide pics at a later date. Hope this has
P.S. Keep up the great work with your site.
Query 1 sent May 21, 2009:
"I have been
looking for a children's
dinosaur book that came out in the
sixties (or maybe the fifties). I don't
know the author or the title,
but the book presented the history of life on Earth as a stage play
curtains framing each scene. The 'acts' were in
chronological order. I want to find a copy of of this book and
description rings a bell, maybe you could help me out."
Added 3/19/10: It looks like we have
an answer to this query (sorry, I was delinquent in posting
Please read the email from
I love your site. It's something
of a nostalgia trip for me to see images from several of the old
dinosaur books that I checked
out from the library. (I still have all my childhood dinosaur
books—save a few that have disappeared—but your site shows
a lot of the ones I never got to own, just borrow repeatedly.)
Anyways, I was reading your
queries page and saw the one sent on May 21, 2009. I was wondering if
the book the person
was looking for is "Life Story" by Virginia Lee Burton. This book was
done by the same woman who wrote and illustrated
"The Little House" (which Disney animated into a short). It features
the history of life presented on a stage—each era presented
as a new act in the play. The illustrations are far from accurate, even
for its time; they are very stylized, but interesting.
It's still available. (http://www.amazon.com/Life-Story-Virginia-Lee-Burton/dp/0395520177)
The link will take you to the book
"Life Story" as noted above. The title page states that it was
Virginia Lee Demetrios in 1962 (I
guess Burton is either her married name or maiden name). Special
Query 2 sent by CW on June 14th, 2009:
be the only person who can help me!
When I was a kid, I got interested
in dinosaurs based on one book I
checked out from my library (I was in
first grade). Anyway, I've just
recently gotten interested again; I
have a fairly large fossil collection, and I've
been trying to find all the old
books I loved as a kid. I've been
incredibly successful, except for this one book,
the book that started it all. I
hope that you can tell me the name and
author of the book if I describe it to
you! (I would soooooooo greatly
I would have checked out the book
in 1976. It was one of those books
that only had one color on a page (those
colors were usualy blue or green,
depending on the page). There was an
image of a dinosaur (perhaps a T-rex
or Allosaurs) peering into the
upper window of a two-story house, if I
remember correctly. One of the early
illustrations in the book also had
an eryops-like animal from the
Permian, coming out of the weeds, possibly
near a lake. The last illustration
of the book, I believe, was of the
earth from outer space, with dinosaurs
standing on out, circling the
upper half. They were, of course, totally
out of proportion to reality. I'm guessing t
his book was written in the 1960s
(give or take a few years in the late
50s or early 70s).
Do you have any idea what this
Added 11/28/09: Well it looks
like we solved the mystery: according to CW he thinks that he may have
mixed memories of more than one dinosaur book. It turns out that
the Blough book is the one that he
was looking for. Here is his
I owe you a big thank you for
posting that image of the Allosaurus
looking in the second story window of the
two-story house. That is
DEFINITELY the picture I remember, and I remember the cover. I've
loaned this book and am just
waiting for the library
service to find the book. I can't tell you what an impression
made on me when I was young.
Query number 4, added 7/9/10 (note, the answer to his query is not the
Giant Golden Book of Dinoaurs):
Hi, thanks for your great
website! I am looking for a particular
children's dinosaur book, and
was hoping you might be willing to help.
From my research, I think
the book may be the giant golden book of
dinosaurs and other reptiles,
but I am uncertain.
Here are details that I recall
about the book.
1) it would have been printed no
later than 1978.
2) there was an illustration
with two (i think) allosaurs running along
a beach (possibly chasing a big
3) there was an illustration of
defensively circled triceratops (or
4) A battle between
tyrannosaurus and triceratops was featured. t-rex
killed the triceratops, but was
itself mortally wounded
Thanks for your time! Best,
added 7/14/10: Well, it looks like we
have an answer to query number 4. Below is the answer,
submitted by Chris Workman. Thanks Chris!
In answer to your latest query:
I believe the person may be remembering Dinosaurs by Kathryn Jackson
with full-color paintings by Jay H. Matternes. It has a copyright date
of 1972 and was part of National
Geographic's Books for Young Explorers. It's a pretty large, thin book.
There is an image of a single
Allosaurus chasing a very large sauropod into the water.
There is an image of a group of
Monoclonius in defensive formation, surrounding their young.
There is an image of a T-rex
and Triceratops fighting.
There is an image of a
Triceratops laying dead, with a mortally wounded T-rex standing over it
about to fall.
Unfortunately, my scanner
doesn't work so I can't scan the images. But if the guy types the title
author into google, he should get a site or two that shows the cover,
which would probably jar his
memory yay or nay. (The cover has a T-rex and Triceratops
The books is terrific and has
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