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Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

(Dinotopia)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  11,297 ratings  ·  392 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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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,297 ratings  ·  392 reviews


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J.G. Keely
Jun 01, 2007 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
...more
Fiver
Nov 18, 2009 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
...more
Abigail
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dinosaur Lovers / Anyone Who Appreciates Immersive Works of Fantasy
Shipwrecked in the South Pacific, Arthur Denison and his young son Will find themselves rescued by dolphins and delivered to the lost island of Dinotopia in this gorgeously illustrated picture-book/novel. "A Land Apart from Time," according to the book's sub-title, Dinotopia is a hidden continent where dinosaurs never went extinct, are highly evolved and intelligent, and now live in a peaceful society together with the humans that have washed up on their shores over the centuries. Although their ...more
"Skippy"
Nov 12, 2011 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
...more
Daniel Summerstay
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book, since I was first shown it over a decade ago, has maintained the position in my library as being the most exquisitely illustrated of any book I have ever come across. This, in a family where quality illustrated books are highly prised and acquired regularly. One of my father's most recognisable t-shirts was a picture from this book along with some footprint text. The cover reminds me of Alma-Tadema at his best.
Amalie
Enchanting!

A Gulliver-esque Arthur and Will Denison (a father and son) are shipwrecked on a lost island continent where dinosaurs and humans live peacefully together. During their time on the island Arthur writes an anthropological journal detailing his discoveries with great illustrations like a Charles Darwin. At some point his journal(s) would be discovered by James Gurney....

Overall, there is nothing so amazing about the plot, what makes this book unique is Gurney's imagination and the amazi
...more
Kendall Moore
This book is, in a word, extraordinary. The artwork is sublime in its beauty conjuring images of a land lost to time yet not so lost as to be forgotten. That is, it feels like the place could actually exist in our world. Also, Gurney's talent for historical illustration is evident in all of the paintings herein; the Dinosaur Abu Simbel is breathtaking. In terms of story, it is a great homage to Jules Verne's work and a moving tale of discovery in its own right. I will DEFINITELY be reading the s ...more
Adam Arzberger
One of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve ever seen. Reminiscent of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, the story is rich and exciting and transports the reader to the island of Dinotopia where dinosaurs and humans live in perfect symbiosis. A highlight is the inclusion of the dinosaur’s ‘footprint alphabet’ which allows the reader to go back through the book and decipher all the signs and symbols dotted throughout. Written in diary form, this story also affords the opportunity to encourage children ...more
Csenge
Nov 01, 2016 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
...more
Marisa
Nov 26, 2014 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
...more
Maria Kramer
Feb 05, 2017 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
Alec Longstreth
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I owned a copy of this book as a kid and flipped through it countless times, to admire the beautiful illustrations. I never actually read it until this year, and what do you know? The writing is actually pretty great too. What's more the interplay between the images and the text is very well handled. The whole story is a great exercise in world building.
Sara
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most visually captivating books we have ever read. The story is beautiful and tender. The illustration is true art. This is a wonderful book for children's imaginations!
Amelia
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best book from my childhood.
Andrés
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Absolutely wonderful!
Kerri
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I was in primary school this book was one of my favourites in the library. I read it over and over and I especially adored the illustrations, which are stunning.
Danielle Palmer
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I recently saw a twitter post that said something along the lines of “Every illustration in Dinotopia is a gift.” I couldn’t have said if better myself!
Miles Smith
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored this illustrated story as a child. Rereading it as an adult confirmed the enduring magnificence of the illustrations and also the story's powerful evocation of wonder. Gurney is far from a Darwinian ideologue. Much of the narrative seems to hint at a desire for a sort of Jeffersonian and Edenic world in which violence is eradicated and the pristinity of the natural world is retained even as a high civilization develops within it. And the obvious addition of dinosaurs makes this attracti ...more
Shane
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have wanted to read this for 25 years and I should have made it a higher priority. Dinotopia is full of wonder. It is perfect escapism, a light adventure accompanied by incredible artwork. I would have gladly read on for 500 more pages. I will definitely continue with the series.
Kataryna Hermans
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Amazing illustrations from one of my favourite stories.
Adrienne Organa
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Wow. What a trip.
Great for memes.
Highly hilarious.
Tim Milligan
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most wonderfully illustrated and transporting fantasy story. Is there any other like it?
Kathryn Neale
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Read this to Houston during the pandemic
Bridget Adams
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books growing up
James Kibirige
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
James Gurneys art books are second to none & a must buy for all & any art enthusiasts. In Dinotopia he paints fantastical scenes inspired by the bygone era of the jurassic/triassic/cretaceous with the realism of the old masters.

Beautiful book from a great artist & master of fantastic realism.
...more
Shanae
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The pictures are what make this book magical. So wonderful. Everytime we came to a 2 page spread, no text, we'd just look in awe. Even I would come back to them again while waiting to gather to read more. Really beautiful artwork.

And a cute story.
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.

The
...more
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 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
...more
Andrew
Oct 02, 2015 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
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Dinotopia denehy 1 9 Sep 03, 2013 09:32PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Dinotopia (1 - 10 of 16 books)
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  • 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)
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