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What the Dinosaurs Did at School
Refe and Susan Tuma are parents of four from the Kansas City area. Inspired by the imagined lives of their children's' toy dinosaurs, they began a series of children's books documenting the antics of dinosaurs in various situations, producing titles such as "What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night" and "What the Dinosaurs Did at School" for which this photograph was taken. The Tumas' stage intricate scenes using the dinosaurs and photograph them in meticulous detail to generate imagery for the books. The scenes are produced on a scale that creates an illusion of reality but the use of the toys themselves maintains an element of hilarity to each. While the viewer is aware of the plastic dinosaurs' static form, the scene suggests movement that encourages the viewer's imagination to envision them in motion; a practice beneficial for both the children and parents reading these books. This scene, in particular, was staged and photographed at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. The original scene took place in a local elementary school but was requested for reshoot by the book's publisher. The school was in session by that time causing the Tumas' stage a reshoot in the Children's Section at the Central Branch. The dinosaurs appear in the middle of an ambush as paper arrows and books fall around them. As a testament to their dedication, they were reported to have spent several hours positioning the scene for the right photograph.