I like to argue that dinosaurs are one of the few mythical creatures we have proof of actually existing. (I haven't done a mythical madness post in a while - my creature-feature side reared up and demanded fulfillment this morning).
When I turned eight, I forgot all about ballerinas. My next phase was Dinosaurs. Who know what prompted the jump from ballerinas from dinosaurs! - but they became my new obsession. This was well before Jurassic Park or Dinotopia or the Land Before Time.
I think its because they come in so many cool varieties with bizarre heads, tails, horns, shields and TEETH. And they had so many complicated, mysterious names.
And we don't know why they disappeared... we only have theories. A mysterious disappearance always piques our interest, doesn't it?
A book or movie simply can't go wrong adding a dinosaur, even if it's completely in the wrong time period.
Do you have a favorite dinosaur book/movie or personal experience? (he he he)