This is a Rourke title I've been looking forward to covering here for a long time, and what a pipin' hot slab of coelurosaur meat it is. It's Tyrannosaurus rex, the favorite dinosaur you're too good to admit is your favorite. You feign interest in ornithopods, act like you like your theropods small and feathery, pretend that basal sauropodomorphs warrant more than a cursory glance. All the while, the itty bitty T. rex on your shoulder whispers in your ear: "You're mine, and you know it."
This is the seventh Rourke Publishing title we've covered in this series, so by this point, I reckon you've got the gist of what they're about. Tyrannosaurus dates to 1981, and was written by Angela Sheehan. This is the first of these posts to feature the work of George Thompson, an illustrator who suffers from the problem of sharing a name with a currently working, younger George Thompson, rendering him nigh-ungoogleable. So, on to the illustrations themselves. They're... eccentric.
For instance, our title character has a little of that stuff that drives country music superstar Trace Adkins wild.
When not proudly displaying that sumptuous derriere, Tyrannosaurus is searching for food, scaring every living thing in the vicinity away.
Except, of course for Triceratops. At this point, the two are contractually obligated to exchange blows whenever in each other's vicinity; like two aging wrestlers, they don the spandex and work up a passable substitute for the intensity of their classic battles. Don't be fooled by the wound Tyrannosaurus sports for the rest of the book: it's stage blood.
Poor, hungry Rexy also tries for a bit of hadrosaur flesh... only to find these early ancestors of the Water Horse instead, a pity. There's some pretty strange choices made here; yes, the Parasaurolophus are, like the menace lurking in the background, rendered in classic man-in-suit posture. Their snouts are bulbous instead of that distinctive wedge shape. But oddest of all are those creepy human-like hands. There's also the minor point of Parasaurolophus being known from strata several million years older than T. rex, but... those hands. Those horrifying hands.
Suddenly skinny, our hero comes across a Struthiomimus raiding a nest - also bearing a bizarre set of hands - and when it flees... the rex doesn't eat the free meal of eggs left behind. Ours is a choosy tyrant.
Luckily, a more suitable meal for the king arrives: the titanosaur Alamosaurus, as noted in the last Rourke post, also displaced from its time. As usual, the predator goes straight for the sauropod's neck, but this one seems a bit more freaked out by this turn of events than some previous appearances of the meme.
Most amazingly... he finishes the whole thing! That entire sauropod is in Rex's belly. Though the Rourke titles tend to adhere to the more reasonable, evidence-based views of the young Dinosaur Renaissance, this take on T. rex is clearly based on the old "ancient monster" mode, with a capacity for gluttony unmatched in the animal kingdom. "When he woke he might be hungry again." Really?
In the book's closing section, we get a nice heaping helping of obsolescence. These sections of Rourke books usually put the book's story into scientific context, based on the latest research. Thirty years on, it shows its age.
Tyrannosaurus as a carnosaur, not a coelurosaur! Gwangi-esque Allosaurus! Naeve Parker style skulking Megalosaurus! Best of all, the inanity of "The flying reptiles, the pterosaurs, could not really fly." Brilliant.
Previous Rourke books featured here:
Ankylosaurus (Bernard Long)
Brontosaurus (Colin Newman)
Iguanodon (Bernard Long)
Triceratops (John Francis)
Pteranodon (Doreen Edwards)
Allosaurus (Doreen Edwards)
Funny story: I scanned this book in and stitched the spreads together... because I'd missed that Terry Thielen had already added them to the Vintage Dinosaur Art Flickr group last year. C'est la vie.