At forty-six years old, it’s not surprising that I no longer have any of the dinosaur toys I grew up with. They’ve all found their way into a garbage dump or nearby thrift store over the last three decades and, if any actually did still exist, they’re probably buried in a landfill somewhere, deeper than many of the animals they’re supposed to represent. There is, however, one dinosaur item from my youth that somehow managed to survive; an old book my parents bought me when I made my first visit to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago back in 1973 called “Album of Dinosaurs” (1972), written by Tom McGowen.
Though I had to rely on my parent’s reading it to me at the time, I remember being captivated by Rod Ruth’s amazing illustrations. These included small black & white drawings at the top/bottom of written pages along with thirteen full-page color ones representing each section of the book. The drawings were so good; they told me the story despite my pre-school illiteracy.
I remember them getting me through long, boring car rides as I’d stare at the drawings and imagine what they’d look like in person. Fast forward thirty years and I’d end up decorating my own son’s dinosaur-themed room with framed copies of my favorite illustrations from this book. They have indeed stood the test of time and I hate the thought of them ever becoming lost to it.
You can probably find inexpensive copies on eBay and since mine is pretty dilapidated from use, I may grab an extra one myself! Regardless, this old book will always have a prominent spot on my bookshelf.