Juan Carlos Alonso | The Children’s Book Review | August 31, 2015
What is it about dinosaurs that intrigue us so much? There are lots of extinct animals, some are even stranger than the dinosaurs. Yet when it comes to capturing our imagination, dinosaurs rule. And, it’s not just in our culture, it’s everywhere around the world. Every country, every social class, every form of upbringing – people, especially children are captivated by their mystique. I for one, was obsessed by them growing up. Dinosaurs seem to have three things that create the perfect recipe for wonder: size, ferocity and extinction. The latter may be the most important ingredient. Because there are only bones and footprints to serve as evidence of their existence, we tend to fill in all the empty spaces with our imagination. This is evident in movies, books, toys, models, and museums. It’s no wonder so many people visit Sue the T. rex at the Field Museum in Chicago or why movie franchises like Jurassic Park are such big draws. People want to see these creatures come to life.
My interest in dinosaurs has remained with me throughout my life. Sure, from my teenage years through most of my adult life, there have been times where they have taken a backseat to other preoccupations, but they firmly stayed with me. As the years passed my interest in dinosaurs and prehistoric life in general grew. With each article written or scientific declaration made, each seem to fill in a gap between imagination and reality. The more we learn about them, the less they are perceived as monsters and the more they become animals. Viewed as animals they take one gigantic leap closer to being real, at least in my mind.
A few years back when my daughter came into the world, I was like most new parents – excited, nervous and filled with memories of my own childhood. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I was going to learn from her. She saw the world through the eyes of pure curiosity and wonder, one that only a child possesses. This was the spark that moved me to write and illustrate this book. You see, it was this same curiosity that magnetically attracted me to dinosaurs and made me draw them endlessly so I could see them come to life, albeit in my mind. I wanted to share the same experience I had as a child with my daughter and other children. While writing this book, the ingredients that make up their mystique became very clear to me: one part science, one part fantasy and one part art. All three are at the core of my passions. Art especially, as I studied painting in college and dedicated my professional life to the graphic arts and creativity in the design and advertising industry. It is only fitting that now, I’ve come full circle back to the very genesis that started it all: dinosaurs.
The Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous is written and illustrated with the intent to bring these animals one step closer to life. In doing so, a great deal of research has been poured into the artistic interpretations of what these animals looked like. As well as sound conjecture on how these animals behaved 120 million years ago. It is my goal that this book serves as an inspiration to wonder, imagine and possibly bring people closer to the intriguing wildlife of the Early Cretaceous.
Written by Juan Carlos Alonso and Gregory S. Paul
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Early Cretaceous brings readers closer to prehistoric life than ever before.
What it would be like to see a living, breathing dinosaur? The Early Cretaceous brings readers closer to prehistoric life than ever before. By combining the latest paleontological findings with highly detailed, intimate drawings of wildlife from the Early Cretaceous, readers will look into the eyes of some of the most fascinating creatures to ever inhabit the earth. Written and illustrated in the style of a naturalist’s notebook, the viewer will be given a first-hand account of what it is like to stand alongside everything from the first birds to flying dinosaurs to some of the largest creatures ever to walk the earth. Through detailed illustrations and descriptive narrative, readers will discover how some dinosaurs survived polar blizzards, while others were able to pump blood five stories high to reach their brains. While many books on prehistoric life lump dinosaurs into the general timeline of the Mesozoic Period, no book currently dissects plant and animal life during one specific period. This allows the book to explore wildlife seldom featured in publications, many of them recent discoveries. The Early Cretaceous is backed by the research of one of paleontology’s most acclaimed theorists, giving the book the most up to date scientific interpretation regarding animal behaviors, interactions, and recreations.
Ages 8-12 | Walter Foster Jr | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1633220331
About the Author
Juan Carlos Alonso is a Cuban American graphic designer, creative director, and illustrator. He has over 30 years experience in the graphic design/illustration field. In 1992, he founded Alonso & Company, a creative boutique specializing in branding, design, and advertising. He has been working with clients of all sizes from Fortune 500 to local businesses and has forged strong relationships with companies including the NBA franchise The Miami Heat, Bacardi Rum, Ryder System, Pitney Bowes, and Capitol Records. Alonso & Company has attained international acclaim for work in advertising and graphic design. His passion for nature has taken him around the world from Australia to the Galapagos Islands to study animals. Along with his work in the graphic arts, he is also an accomplished wildlife sculptor focusing mostly on prehistoric animals.
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