Friday, December 24, 2010
Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaur's Christmas
Fittingly enough, this week's title in the Vintage Dinosaur Art series is Dinosaur's Christmas by Liza Donnelly. More minimalist cartooning and good-natured holiday adventuring. A dinosaur-crazed boy happens across a Plateosaurus while sledding, and is promptly taken to the North Pole, where they find the workshop where Santa's indentured servants (or if you're a traditionalist, elves) are making dinosaur toys. There's a problem, Plateosaurus says, and only a child with a sound knowledge of paleontology can save Christmas.
The kid brings his knowledge to bear, lecturing the elves about the anatomical gaffes of their dinosaur toys. The mistakes the elves made are absolutely ludicrous, such as sticking wings on a nodosaur. Clearly, these elves did little preproduction research.
When Santa's reindeer all come down with the flu, the Plateosaurus reveals that it can make sounds besides unintelligible chatter when it starts shrieking a sort of super-effective dinosaur call. A horde of dinosaurs comes marching over the horizon to save the day, happily submitting to Santa's whip and pulling his magic sleigh.
Finally, Santa and his dinosaur-driven sleigh drop the boy off at home. By which I mean that he's literally dropped down the chimney from a great height. I'd wager it might have something to do with Santa getting sick of being lectured.
One thing I appreciate about Donnelly's dinosaur books is her willingness to stray from the most popular names in dinosaur-kind; this one includes Nodosaurus, Bactrosaurus, Kentrosaurus, and Stegoceras. This is a book for those kids who sit under a picnic table discussing basal ornithischians while their classmates are dominating the playground reenacting Tyrannosaurus vs. Triceratops for the hundredth time.