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Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time (Dinotopia)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  9,106 Ratings  ·  297 Reviews
In the year 1860, biologist and explorer Arthur Denison and his son, Will, set out on a sea voyage of discovery and adventure. When a powerful typhoon wrecks the ship in uncharted waters, Arthur and Will are the sole survivors. Washed ashore on a strange island called Dinotopia, they are amazed to find a breathtaking world where cities are built on waterfalls, people have ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by HarperTrophy (first published 1992)
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Amy The books are even better! I love the movie but the illustrated books are spectacular.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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J.G. Keely
Jun 01, 2007 J.G. Keely rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children, Artists, Dinosaur Lovers
This fanciful retelling of "The Land that Time Forgot" would just be a passable (if fun) story if not for Gurney's rather lovely artwork. His imagining of his new and strange world carries a depth and weight that, to be trite, truly transports you there--but then, that's what he built his career on.

A competent draughtsman who plied his imagining of ancient Egyptian rituals and architectural recreations in the pages of National Geographic, Gurney's style evokes the travelogue of a naturalist (whi
Nov 18, 2009 Fiver rated it it was amazing
A very exceptional book, in many ways. Readers of this critique, please don't think that I'm giving this book five stars simply because it was a childhood favorite (and I openly admit to having loved this book since I was a child). Dinotopia is the kind of book that is so easy laugh at at the mere description: two travelers stumble on a hidden island where humans and dinosaurs live together! Break out the grenades, cavewomen, and giant apes, right?

The reason Dinotopia deserves five stars is tha
Nov 29, 2016 Nanna rated it it was amazing
Jeg ville have ELSKET den her bog i min dinosaur-besatte barndom! En af mine første historier (skrevet af og om 10-årige Nanna) hed 'På eventyr i kridttiden' og handlede om en tidsrejseamulet. Det var meningen at der skulle være dinosaurer med. Mange af dem. Men jeg nåede kun at tegne forsiden med en Triceratops og de tre hovedpersoner før jeg gik død på første side.

Har læst DINOTOPIA højt for min syvårige dino-fan herhjemme. Sproget er lidt gammeldags, og der er ikke rigtig noget plot - men hol
Maria Kramer
Feb 05, 2017 Maria Kramer rated it it was amazing
I remember being a kid, looking at this in my local library. I was too young to read it, but would stare at the pictures, entranced, imagining what the story was. This weekend, I came across a copy in a used bookstore and decided it would be mine! I was not disappointed. For a grownup, this is a fast read - a fun introduction to a fantasy world where humans and dinosaurs live together in harmony. Of course, the illustrations are gorgeous.

Similar title:
Gnomes by Wil Huygen
Nov 12, 2011 "Skippy" rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lbr
One the most beautiful, creative books I've read in a while. It's one of those stories that really brings me back to the simplicity and honesty of the natural world. The most memorable part for me (besides the absolutely gorgeous illustrations) about their conception of time.

"You of the west," Malik said, "think of time moving in a straight line, from past to present to future. Your eastern brothers regard time as a circle, returning endlessly in a cycle of decay and rebirth. Both ideas have a
Nov 26, 2014 Marisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I don’t normally review children’s book, but I was recently reminded of this story that I read with my dad growing up. This is a “MUST READ” for all kids and particularly fans of dinosaurs as far as I’m concerned. The art in this book is reason alone to pick it up (or any in the series). The pictures were mesmerizing growing up and I remember often just staring through it. The story is also wonderful and a great compliment.

What makes this book particularly good, however, is that the story goes
Oct 09, 2012 Nickcole rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books to read and I love that I get to share it with my daughter. I remember going to to the library as a young child and always taking out this book or patiently waiting for someone to return it so that I could take it out.

The story is about Will and his father after this get into a ship wreck and land on an unknown island that they find out is filled with dinosaurs living with people in harmony. It's their journey of getting to know the people, dinosaurs and their c
Rebecca Johnson
When I was little I read Swiss Family Robinson ... at least I assume I did. I don't remember actually reading it (the first time), only having known that I had. Whatever the circumstances, the story was one that fascinated me and stuck with me for a long, long time. The story of the shipwreck and having to find a way to live on a deserted island has been the basis of many (many) of my dreams over the years and there is always something about those types of stories that draw me in immediately.

Amanda [Novel Addiction]
I'm going to start this review by saying this is one of my favorite books, and has been since I was in fourth grade. To get us back into the learning mood after recess, my teacher would read us a few pages of Dinotopia everyday (until she eventually had to move on to other books, since this isn't very long). But she wasn't reading fast enough for me, so I begged my Mom to get the book for me from the library. I fell in love with the gorgeous illustrations. I fell in love with the world. I just f ...more
Tom Wolfem
Dec 30, 2014 Tom Wolfem rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful book: would recommend this without hesitation to anyone even remotely interested.

This is a fantasy art treasure trove, disguised charmingly as a found journal. The journal entries, and accompanying art, document the lives of a father and son who, in the 1800s, survive being lost at sea. They're marooned on an island trapped in time, where dinosaurs not only still roam but live in concert with people. The story has an old-world class to it and the journal style allows a lot
Nov 01, 2016 Csenge rated it it was amazing
I realize that I'm waaaaay late to this party, but I just randomly found this book in the library, and I have never even heard Dinotopia before. I'm ridiculously excited.
My biggest problem with Jurassic Park has always been that I would have loved to just watch scientists doing science stuff, instead of any of the screaming and the running... and this book does exactly that. It is not an adventure novel, but an explorer's journal, full of sketches of everyday life in great, vivid, amazingly crea
Oct 02, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
The cover has a really nice virbrant painting. If that wasn't good enough the painting wraps around to the spine and back of the book. Unfortunately the dust jacket of the book is torn up along the edges. This really detracts from the overall appearance. On the inner cover there is an inscription from grandma indicating the book was a birthday gift in 1994. It doesnt really go well with the rest of the book and hurts the resale value. There is also what appears to be chocolate stains (what i hop ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Emkoshka rated it it was amazing
I was obsessed with dinosaurs when I was a child and although I've had this book since then and have seen bits and pieces of the TV show based on it, I'd never actually read the book until now. What a gorgeous, magical, rich and utterly believable world Gurney has created. I want to live atop an oak in Tree Town, fly through the skies on a Skybax and explore the caves of the World Beneath (in the next book, hooray). The artwork is superb and intricately detailed and the storytelling assured and ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Angie rated it it was amazing
This was easily one of the most formative books of my childhood; every time I re-read it I get a lovely warm glow of nostalgia. The illustrations/paintings are remarkable, the story full of the same energy and whimsy and wonder of the great adventure classics like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Treasure Island, and the characters -- human and saurian -- are great. (But yeah, weren't the early 90s AMAZING for the dinosaur-obsessed? Jurassic Park, Dinotopia -- hell, even the Power Rangers ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Sean rated it it was amazing
I have fond memories of checking this book out from the library as a child. I bought this for my daughter so she can enjoy it too. "Dinotopia" is a great little fantasy, beautifully illustrated, about an island in the Pacific where humans and dinosaurs have lived together for thousands of years. The book is written in the style of a nineteenth century scientist's field journal, which only adds to the fun. There is some warmed-over subtext about living in harmony with nature, or something like th ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Msporter64 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a gift from my mom. I love children's books. This is wonderfully told and illustrated!! I have read this book several times to my 6th grade advisory kids. I have created quizzes and projects to go along with it. One project was to have each student draw their best tree houses. The art has been amazing.
Mar 25, 2009 Lena rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I absolutely LOVE this book!!! I got it when I was about 3years old and forced my parents to read it a thousand times before I was able to read it on my own. This was the book that really motivated me when learning to read was boring. Even now I still read it at least once a year and it never gets boring. I'd be surprised if there is a kid that doesn't like this book.
Jun 22, 2015 Amelia rated it it was amazing
The best book from my childhood.
Amanda Mic Perkins
Oct 14, 2016 Amanda Mic Perkins rated it it was amazing
Stunning art. I loved the movie when I was little, so this was a real treat.
Elena Sorensen
Feb 06, 2017 Elena Sorensen rated it really liked it
A modern classic in the tradition of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
A highly imaginative attempt to work within the "lost world" literary tradition made popular at the end of the Victoria era. This is an intelligent story that appeals to both kids and adults. The illustrations are magnificent and worth a second or third viewing. Highly recommended.
Feb 21, 2017 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, fantasy, adventure
beautiful art
Jan 25, 2017 Carl rated it liked it
Shelves: art, fantasy
I love the world created by Gurney, and the illustrations in this book are very nice.
Nov 10, 2016 Andrés rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful!
Tiffany Kramer
Jan 04, 2017 Tiffany Kramer rated it really liked it
This book is worth checking out for Gurney's stunning artwork alone. Each piece serves to breath more life into this captivating story . The child in me positively loved this story about a land untouched by time where dinosaurs and humans live side by side. However the adult in me wasn't satisfied with the ending, it felt a little rushed as if Gurney had been given a page limit and was forced to cut things short so I did have to knock it back one star. Aside from that I am definitely looking fo ...more
Drew Graham
Apr 20, 2012 Drew Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
Scientist Arthur Denison and his young son Will shipwreck and find themselves on the shores of an uncharted island called Dinotopia. They are introduced to a society in which dinosaurs and humans live in cooperation, as they have for generations, and Arthur is enthralled by his new study of this incredible world and fascinated by the people and creatures he meets there, while Will is ready to jump into their new life.

At The Wife's insistence, I finally read through this old favorite of hers. I h
S. J.
Jan 06, 2012 S. J. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dinosaur lovers, Steampunk aficionados, graphic novel fans
Recommended to S. by: Library
*5 + infinity Stars*

*The Gush*
I can't state enough how much I love this book. This book and the sequel were some of the few books I ever bought for myself during my childhood that weren't either at Walmart or at a used bookstore (if the book is in perfect condition, isn't always better to get more for money?). I have long loved dinosaurs and love to see the different ways fiction has humans and these amazing creatures interact with each other. At one end of the spectrum is Jurassic Park and the
Travis Mueller
Jun 23, 2014 Travis Mueller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read Dinotopia back in third grade, not long after it was first published, and I'm sure I read it several times after that. Having randomly become interested in it again, I ended up reading the 20th Anniversary Edition, which is the same content but with an introduction by Michael Patrick Hearn and an afterword by the author with sketches and photos related to the creation of the book.

First off the new material. The foreword was kind of dumb honestly. The book jacket reveals that Mr
Shannon Hayes
Dec 01, 2014 Shannon Hayes rated it it was amazing
While others may have long known about this book, we only discovered it after my youngest, Ula, found the book on a library shelf, then pleaded with us to take her to see an exhibit of author/illustrator James Gurney's art last winter. While I agree that this book is one of our best finds of the year, it is at Ula's insistence that I am including this review.

This is a perfect book to spend some beautiful time with your kids. You will sit down on the couch with them, or cuddle up in the bed toget
Sep 15, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children, boys with dinosaurs on the brain, adults
Beautiful, amazing, and wonderful to read. The work of James Gurney is one everyone should read. Young children should be encouraged to read this, especially little boys who are going through their dinosaur phase. The art work in this book is beautiful to look at with so much detail put into place about how humans and dinosaurs would look together in harmony.

The story of Dinotopia is about two travelers, Will and Arthur, who end up shipwrecked on the island of Dinotopia. Their adventures lead th
Callie Rose Tyler
This book was unlike anything I've ever read before it is fictional but presented in as a historic artifact a journal from a father and son that find themselves shipwrecked on a strange island. This island is filled with dinosaurs AND humans who not only live peacefully together but they have worked together to create an unbelievably advanced civilization, at times I found it a little too unbelievable. I could accept riding dinosaurs and using them for manual labor....

but I find it hard to accep
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Dinotopia denehy 1 9 Sep 03, 2013 09:32PM  
  • Sky Dance (Dinotopia, #10)
  • Dinotopia Lost
  • Sabertooth Mountain (Dinotopia, #5)
  • The Maze (Dinotopia, #8)
  • Firestorm (Dinotopia, #7)
  • Hatchling (Dinotopia, #3)
  • A Redwall Winter's Tale
  • Rescue Party (Dinotopia, #9)
  • Oasis (Dinotopia, #16)
  • Voyage of the Basset
  • The Eleventh Hour
  • Chomper (Dinotopia, #11)
  • Survive! (Dinotopia, #13)
  • Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You (The Spiderwick Chronicles)
  • Masquerade
Born June 14, 1958 in Glendale, California. Raised in Palo Alto, the youngest of five children of Joanna and Robert Gurney (a mechanical engineer). Earned a B.A. in Anthropology in 1979 with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of California at Berkeley. Studied painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena,California, where he met his wife Jeanette. In 1984 they moved to the Hudso ...more
More about James Gurney...

Other Books in the Series

Dinotopia (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Windchaser (Dinotopia, #1)
  • River Quest (Dinotopia, #2)
  • Hatchling (Dinotopia, #3)
  • Lost City (Dinotopia, #4)
  • Sabertooth Mountain (Dinotopia, #5)
  • Thunder Falls (Dinotopia, #6)
  • Firestorm (Dinotopia, #7)
  • The Maze (Dinotopia, #8)
  • Rescue Party (Dinotopia, #9)
  • Sky Dance (Dinotopia, #10)

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“Survival of all or none.
One raindrop raises the sea.
Weapons are enemies even to their owners.

Give more, take less.
Others first, self last.
Observe, listen, and learn.
Do one thing at a time.

Sing every day.
Exercise imagination.
Eat to live, don't live to eat.”
“Breathe Deep, Seek Peace.” 5 likes
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