The Best Books About Dinosaurs

I’ve always been perplexed by people who “grow out” of dinosaurs. How is that even possible? Dinosaurs were a spectacularly diverse group of creatures, ranging from living armored tanks to carnivorous titans! What’s not to love? That’s why I’ve made this reading list for any dinophiles out there hungry for a new angle on these beloved beasts. Whether you are 6, 16, or 60, we’ve got the book for you. RAWR!

My Beloved Brontosaurus, by Brian Switek
If you have ever had the pleasure of reading Switek’s blog Laelaps, you’re already familiar with his unique take on dinosaurs. My Beloved Brontosaurus is his most recent book, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the brave, new world of 21st Century paleontology.

The Dinotopia Series by James Gurney
This story of a utopian civilization shared by dinosaurs and humans has been a classic for over two decades. Worth it for the elegant illustrations alone!

Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte and Michael Benton
This is the ultimate coffee table book about dinosaurs. It features gorgeous computer-generated images of over 170 species, as well as background on their taxonomy and evolution. You’ll be lost for hours as you flip through the glossy pages.

The Gilded Dinosaur, by Mark Jaffe
Unsurprisingly, the history of paleontology is as bombastic and provocative as dinosaurs themselves. Mark Jaffe’s book focuses on the legendary “Bone Wars” between feuding researchers Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.

The Captain Raptor series by Kevin O’Malley 
One of the most popular tropes in dinosaur fiction is the idea of a dinosaur spacefaring civilization. The absolute apex of this genre is O’Malley’s fantastic Captain Raptor of planet Jurassica, an intrepid commander who leads a ragtag team of dinosaurs on outer space adventures. The gorgeous artwork of illustrator Patrick O’Brien adds so much life to this vibrant fantasy universe.

The Last Dinosaur Book by W.J.T. Mitchell
If you’re interested in why dinosaurs remain so culturally important to humans, Mitchell’s tome on the subject is for you. Filled with insightful reflections on the immortality dinosaurs have achieved in pop culture, The Last Dinosaur Book will have you rethinking the role of the terrible lizard in human civilization and psychology.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Obviously! Crichton’s bestselling novel is a must-read not only for dinosaur enthusiasts, but for science fiction aficionados in general. It’s both a gripping page-turner and a mind-blowing meditation on the ethics of science. You won’t be able to put it down, and the issues Crichton raises will stick with you for years.

The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert T. Bakker
Bakker is one of the most controversial, engaging, and influential paleontologists of modern times. This is his masterpiece, first published in 1986. It completely breaks apart the idea of dinosaurs as cold-blooded, slow, simple animals in favor of our modern view of them as agile, warm-blooded, complex creatures. His passion for the topic still bursts off the page, even as this landmark book approaches its 30-year anniversary.

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs Versus Aliens by Grant Morrison
A high-concept graphic novel about an alien invasion of Earth during the Mesozoic…written by Grant Morrison!? Run, don’t walk, to get this explosively imaginative book.

How to Build a Dinosaur by Jack Horner
Jack Horner is a giant in the world of paleontology—he was, for example, the main inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant of Jurassic Park. 20 years after the movie, Horner continues to generate incredible ideas, including the notion of reverse engineering dinosaurs by using the atavistic genes of their descendants: birds. A must-read for anyone interested in the genetic side of paleontology, or anyone who has simply yearned to have her own pet dinosaur one day.

Dinosaurs (Encyclopedia Prehistorica) by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
This elegant pop-up book will delight readers of all ages. From wandering 3D sauropods to a T-Rex poised to spring right out of the pages, the meticulous craftsmanship of this encyclopedia is sure to captivate dinophiles of every feather. 

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