Inspired by archaeology, lost civilizations, and the art of illustration, James Gurney’s children book Dinotopia creates an extraordinary place where humans and dinosaurs live in harmony.
“The thing I love about dinosaurs is that they are on that balance point between fantasy and reality,” says Gurney. “It might be hard to believe that mermaids and dragons really existed, but we know that dinosaurs did—we can see their footprints and skeletons but we can’t photograph them or see them, except in our imagination.”
The Dinotopia storyline chronicles the adventures and remarkable experiences of Professor Arthur Denison and his son Will on Dinotopia, a mysterious “lost” island inhabited by dinosaurs and shipwrecked travelers. The faraway land of Dinotopia—wholly the product of Gurney’s fertile imagination, scientific knowledge and meticulous artistic ability—is a civilization like no other. The society has its own language, alphabet, colorful festivals and parades. The lively cast of characters includes the inquisitive Professor Denison; Will and Sylvia, the adventurous young Skybax riders-in-training; the devious curmudgeon Lee Crabb; the beautiful musician Oriana Nascava; and a multilingual, diplomatic Protoceratops named Bix.
His first Dinotopia book, Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time, appeared in 18 languages in more than 30 countries and sold two million copies. Gurney has written and illustrated three other volumes in the series, Dinotopia: The World Beneath and Dinotopia: First Flight. A fourth volume, Dinotopia: Journey To Chandara was published in the fall of 2007. In 2002, Hallmark Entertainment produced a lavish television miniseries for ABC TV based on the Dinotopia books that received record-setting ratings and an Emmy award for best visual effects.