Critter of the Week: Pliosaurus

Meet Tigger. This big guy is always ready to flash a big, toothy smile, especially at mealtime.


Tigger plio

Look at that giant, toothy grin.  He’s sure happy to see you!  He’s looking for a treat or two (or ten), so that’s what this stinky bucket of slimy deliciousness is for.  Tigger has a huge appetite, and he’ll eat anything that fits in that giant mouth of his.  Even dinosaurs if one of them decides to go for a swim.  (you heard right, dinos can swim, we have tracks to prove it)

Now when I say dinosaurs, I don’t mean swimming critters like Tigger.  If you want the nitty gritty on what a dinosaur is or isn’t, you can quiz yourself on “Which One is the Dinosaur?”. 🙂  But even though Tigger wouldn’t mind a dino snack on occasion, it wasn’t usually on the menu, since he has plenty of turtles, squid, ammonites (think squid with a snail shell), fish, and marine reptiles to chomp on.

I say marine reptiles, because that’s what this big guy is.  Tigger isn’t a dinosaur at all, but a pliosaur.  In fact, his species, Pliosaurus, named his whole group!

The other marine reptiles swimming around here are ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.  My little girl calls them “icky-saurs” and “pleasy-saurs”. 😛

Read on for picture book progress!


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Making progress…


Last week I promised to talk more about what goes into the front cover of a picture book.
Now some people say that the cover needs to be super clear, readable as a thumbnail, and pretty much perfect because that’s what sells your book.

Other people say that the cover doesn’t need to be perfect or sell your book, it just needs to spark enough interest for a potential reader to take a closer look.

That second bit of advice is what I’m going for.

Here’s the first idea I settled on for a cover, before I really knew what the title would be.



I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but it was the best idea I had at the time.  Here’s why I don’t like it…

  • It implies that the big dinosaurs are just as quiet as the little ones.
  • Everything is so peaceful it looks like it’s about dinosaurs going to sleep (which it isn’t)
  • There’s that random bird there (not to me, but definitely random for the casual observer)
  • Ajax the Apatosaurus looks like a giant snake instead of a dinosaur

I colored it in, just to test style and see how everything works, because things always look different in color…but of course the problems were even more obvious. 😀



So back to the drawing board!  I drew a bunch of little thumbnails with different ideas, and I settled on something like this…

Front cover

  • Here we have our little family and Mr. Diggle walking through some very large dinosaurs.
  • Title is changed into the question asked throughout the book.
  • My name is not as important as the title or the illustration (I’m not famous 😛 ), so I moved it to the bottom
  • Not quite sure about having two long-necked dinosaurs here though.  Dinos had very different body shapes.
  • All the dinosaurs still look too peaceful.  The problem is finding a little, quiet dinosaur, all these giants just have the size problem.
  • How will it work in color?  The critters here have very different color patterns, will I have to change them to “fit” together?

10x10 Front cover

Here’s a color test.  Still no reference here yet, and nowhere near the final quality, but it’s looking more promising than the others have so far.  😀  Here are a few things I may change for the “final cut”.

  • More dinosaurs?  I like how it looks like these guys are kinda crowding around the family, but everyone is being so nice and respecting everyone’s space bubble…Maybe I can push the crowding a little more by adding a few smaller dinos.
  • Should Steggy the Stegosaurus be loud too, or should she stay calm?  She’s still too big. 😛
  • Not sure I like where the title is, or the font.  It works, but it could be better.
  • I like how the colors pop, especially the warmer, lighter tans against the blue-green foliage along the edges.

But I can go on all day about stuff I like or don’t like about it.  I want to hear from you!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see it?  Anything you would change?  I’m just learning as I go here, so any help or feedback would be awesome! 😀


Coming Next Week…

This swimmer likes a game of hide and seek, can you find her? 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! She’ll be one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Pliosaurus

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