Allow me to deviate from plesiosaurs for a moment to focus on a different kind of Mesozoic vertebrate – dinosaurs! I’m delighted to announce that my second children’s book, The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers, will be published later this year, and I’m also excited to reveal the front cover. It’s a ‘kind-of’ sequel to The Plesiosaur’s Neck (2021) and a continuation of my exciting collaboration with Jonathan Emmett, published again by UCLan Publishing. The illustrator this time is Stieven Van der Poorten. If you haven’t seen Stieven’s distinctive and wonderful paleoart before, take a look at his website: https://stieven.com
My life has been inextricably linked to Tyrannosaurus rex over the past two or three years. In addition to this book I curated the recent Titus: T. rex is King exhibition at the Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall. The exhibition featured a fossilised skeleton of a T. rex called Titus and ran for just over a year from 2021 to 2022*. The scientific content for the exhibition was led by Dr Dave Hone, author of The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, and we co-authored the exhibition guide book together. So, I’ve had T. rex on the brain for a while now, and plenty of opportunity and motivation to get to know the king of the dinosaurs in more detail.
However, Jonathan’s idea for this book was sparked prior to the exhibition at Wollaton Hall, so Titus’ visit to our home city was actually a welcome coincidence. Having a T. rex skeleton on our doorstep came in very handy during our research for the book. Jonathan first envisioned a book exploring how different dinosaur species have changed in the face of new evidence, in the case of T. rex, how it has been transformed from a completely scaly skinned animal, to a more bird-like creature with – to a greater or lesser degree – feathers. But we quickly realised that T. rex has undergone enough other anatomical changes over the decades to fill an entire book, and so the framework for The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers swiftly took shape. Here’s the blurb…
“Tyrannosaurus rex may be the king of the dinosaurs, but that doesn’t stop know-it-all Velociraptor from telling him he looks old-fashioned and needs a makeover. So, with an improved posture, some restyled body parts and a coat of shaggy feathers, T. rex gets a new look to match the latest evidence. From the authors of The Plesiosaur’s Neck, The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers takes an amusing and informative look at how new discoveries have transformed our understanding of T. rex‘s appearance since this giant prehistoric predator was first unearthed over a century ago.”
I’m looking forward to sharing more details about the book when it is published. The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers is set for release on 3rd of August 2023 and is widely available for preorder now. Ask for it at your local bookstore, or visit the following links.
Rest of the world
*The Titus exhibition was extended in a condensed form with Titus still the centrepiece, until April 2023. Now the original fossil bones of Titus are being returned to the owner, but a T. rex skeleton consisting of replica Titus bones and replica bones from other T. rex skeletons will remain a permanent feature at Wollaton Hall as a legacy of the exhibition.