The “lost continent” of Laramidia

Perhaps you are new to Dinosaur Train, or perhaps you are a long time fan. Either way, you should note that the Jim Henson Company released Dinosaur Big City last year.  Dinosaur Big City is a one-hour Dinosaur Train movie, which kicked off Dinosaur Train’s second season.

The first season taught children about paleontology, natural history, and science.  The second season will focus on natural phenomena and exploring the outdoors.  “Big Dinosaur Week” will be featured, and so will the “Dinosaurs A to Z” song.

The movie itself is based on scientific research.  Scientific advisors were sought to help present the research and make the history of dinosaurs more appealing and exciting to young children.  The movie takes place in “Laramidia,” a part of the North American continent, during the Late Cretaceous period.  The “lost continent” of Laramidia was formed when a shallow sea covered the middle part of North America, separating the eastern and western portions of the continent.  The climate was swampy and subtropical and situated in what is now thought to be modern day Utah.

Despite its small size, enormous amounts of dinosaur fossils were found in Laramidia, representing a great diversity of dinosaurs.  Dr. Scott Sampson, a dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, explains that many species of specifically large dinosaurs existed in this part of North America; a mystery that many paleontologists are still trying to unravel.

The movie itself was incredibly fun and educational. I will give a synopsis in one of our later blogs. In the meantime, feel free to check out our online toy store for some cool stuff. And of course, be sure to pick up a copy of the DVD itself.

 

Curious George Drawn From Real Life Inspiration

Have you ever wondered why Curious George is so curious?  Or why he has a penchant for mischief, is always getting into trouble, yet somehow seems to narrowly escape disaster time and time again?

The source of inspiration came from the couple who first created the children’s books themselves, H.A. and Margret Reys.  The Reys were German Jews that lived in Paris during the time of the Nazi reign.  Because they were Jewish, they had to constantly search for safe places to hide from the Germans.  Two days before the Germans marched on Paris, they fled on their bicycles carrying drawings that later became the character of Curious George.  The theme of escaping disaster just in the nick of time throughout many of the Curious George episodes reflects the Rey’s own experience in life.

The Reys fled from Paris to New York in 1940.  While on board the ship, Margaret Rey used to sew miniature sweaters to keep the monkeys warm.  However, her efforts proved to be in vain, as none of the monkeys were able to survive the long passage. The Reys also used this time to develop the literature for Curious George.

The original name for George was Fifi.  When the Reys finally made it to America, they showed their manuscript to publisher Houghton Mifflin.  Houghton Mifflin expressed doubts about the name Fifi, especially for a boy monkey.  The Reys proceeded to change the name to George. In England, Curious George is known as ZoZo.

Although the monkeys did not survive in real life, through their literature, stories, and drawings, the Reys were able to create the story of a monkey that survived against all odds.  Curious George is a monkey to which many of us aspire.  This tried and true monkey may have a lot of flaws, but he has a heart full of gold and always learns his lesson.  Please click on the link if you are interested in browsing our selection of Curious George toys.  Although we can’t guarantee your invinciblity, we promise that you won’t be disappointed.