Norman, David & Angela Milner | Eyewitness Books: Dinosaur

  • First edition, first impression of Dinosaur, one of the earliest titles in the best-selling Eyewitness Books series, together with the first printing of the American edition, published in the same year. Copies of the first printings of the 1980s Eyewitness books are scarce, particularly in such beautiful condition.

    The publisher Dorling Kindersley was founded in London 1974, and in the 1980s began taking advantage of new design technologies to radically revise the traditional page layouts of children’s books. As they described to Children’s Software Review in 1997, the goal was to “slow down the pictures and speed up the text”, allowing children to “experience information from their own particular point of view” (cited by Stringham, “The Efficacy of Small Multiples in the Visual Language of Instructional Designs”, Brigham Young University thesis, 2012). "What DK did—with almost revolutionary panache—was essentially to reinvent nonfiction books by breaking up the solid pages of gray type that had previously been their hallmark, reducing the text to bite-size, nonlinear nuggets that were then surrounded by pictures that did more than adorn—they also conveyed information. Usually full color, they were so crisply reproduced they seemed to leap off the page” (Cart, “Eyewitness Books: Putting the Graphic in Lexographic”, Booklist, October 15, 2002). There are now more than 100 Eyewitness Books, and more than 50 million copies have been sold in thirty-six languages.

    The first Eyewitness Books were published in 1988, and Dinosaur appeared the following year, one of the first sixteen in the series and still in print today. Its authors are both prominent palaeontologists. Angela Milner, of the Natural History Museum in London, has done important work on archaeopteryx, providing evidence in the debate over whether it was a bird or dinosaur. David Norman is curator of vertebrate paleontology at Cambridge University’s Sedgwick Museum. In 2017 he and two other paleontologists made the case for a complete revaluation of early dinosaur evolution and taxonomy, arguing that the two main dinosaur clades were more closely related than previously understood.

  • London & New York: Dorling Kinderseley, Ltd. & Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1989.

    2 volumes, tall quarto. Original glossy white boards illustrated with photos, dinosaur-patterned endpapers. Colour illustrations throughout. The London printing has faint toning of the front free endpaper, the New York printing is lightly rubbed at the tips. An excellent, fresh set.