Here at Priddy Books, we go to great lengths to develop the design and content of our books – whether that means photographing wild animals on safari, testing every recipe in cookery books or, in the case of Smart Kids Dinosaur A-Z, commissioning 26 highly detailed dinosaur models!
First published in 2004, Smart Kids Dinosaur A-Z is an alphabetical introduction to the world of dinosaurs starting with the carnivorous Allosaurus and ending with the swift-moving Zephyrosaurus. A scale model was especially commissioned for each of the 26 dinosaurs in the book, all individually designed and constructed by model maker Graham High of Centaur Studios.
As well as being the main feature of Smart Kids Dinosaur A-Z, photographs of these intricate models have gone on to be used in many other bestselling Priddy Books dinosaur books.
Now, nearly ten years after they were made, we have donated the 23 models which remain intact to one of the best dinosaur museums in the UK, Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur locations in Europe, and more than 20 species from the Cretacious period have been found on there. The museum is located in the south and overlooks one of the island’s most popular fossil-hunting beaches.
We recently took a trip to Dinosaur Isle to deliver the models safely to their new home, and Alex, the Community Learning Officer, was thrilled to receive them from Roger Priddy on behalf of the museum. We visited the lab, where the dinosaurs will be temporarily displayed to the public before they take up permanent residence in the main gallery. We were also able to tour the museum which has an the incredible collection of fossils, dinosaur reconstructions and interactive displays to explore.
The museum also offers guided fossil walks, so after handing over the models and looking around the museum, we went on a fossil hunt along the beach in front of the museum. As it was just a few days after the big storm that hit the south of England, we were hoping we would be lucky enough to find some – the cliff which rises above the beach is packed full of treasures waiting to be discovered, and storms and rock falls often reveal new fossils. We were not disappointed! Putting to use our guide’s top tips on fossil hunting, we came away with fossilised Iguanodon spine, turtle shell, shark’s jaw and lots of fools gold!
Having experienced all that Dinosaur Isle has to offer to visitors first hand, we’re so pleased that our dinosaurs have found a new home in their fantastic collection. As a children’s book publisher, it’s particularly special to know that over 250 school groups visit the museum each year – so from now on our dinosaurs will not only be seen and enjoyed by children in our books, but at the museum, too!