Review by Ian Keogh
Don’t come to the strangely named Love with the expectation that it’s all about the animal represented on the cover. Creators Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci have this time given themselves extensive leeway by referring to a considerable group of creatures, but their cover pictures a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it’s some time before one of those turns up.
Dinosaur also departs considerably from the present day realism seen in the previous books, where the creatures seen genuinely co-exist in the same region. For the sake of visual excitement they’ve chosen to mix dinosaurs from the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous geological periods, making this less of a documentation, although to be fair to Brrémaud, that’s never been a stated intention. Furthermore, Bertolucci has also dropped into almost cartoon personalities in places.
There’s none of that here as readers are taken on a tour through a lush jungle environment, transferring from one creature to the next, starting with a small flightless, but bird-like reptile, named the Bambiraptor in the bonus material. The Tyrannosaur is established as the top of the feeding chain pretty well as soon as it appears, but not completely unchallanged.
Because there’s no actual reference for the dinosaurs, Bertolucci’s imagination runs even more freely than on the other books, and there’s page after page of spectacular dinosaurs charging out of the page and at each other. It’s the dream drawings of every schoolkid who discovers dinosaurs brought to life by an amazing artist. As before, the environment changes as the pages turn, and Bertolucci surprises with a great underwater spread.
The Bambiraptor ties the narrative together, constantly fleeing from danger, with Bertolucci very good at reinforcing scale. By the end there’s a new danger, again shipped in a few million years before it happened.
Just in case it makes a difference, while this hardcover has the same page count as earlier volumes, the story content is considerably reduced and the book bulked out by twenty pages of Bertolucci’s dinosaur sketches. The next volume in the series is The Mastiff.