Kathryn Noel will be in the company of dinosaurs soon.
Kathryn, 11, drew a poster with pencil and crayon and became one of six winners of a national contest last month.The prize: She will be a model for a children's book illustration depicting humans and dinosaurs living together.
"I didn't really believe it at first," Kathryn said. "I'm excited."
The contest was sponsored by Storyworks magazine and James Gurney, author of the "Dino-topia" series of children's books that imagine a world where dinosaurs and humans live and work together in peace. Gurney will paint Kathryn and the five other winners, primarily from New York and California, riding dinosaurs in a carousel for an illustration in his next book, "Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time," which will come out late this year.
Kathryn will pose for 100 pictures at a local photo studio wearing different costumes, and Gurney will paint her based on the pictures. She will get a poster-sized map of Dinotopia, an autographed copy of the new book, and her poster will be featured in a nationwide Dinotopia exhibit tour in libraries and museums.
Bonnie Despain, Kathryn's fifth-grade teacher at Ridgecrest Elementary, 1800 E. 7200 South, saw the advertisement for the contest in Storyworks' January issue. Contestants were required to submit a poster illustrating the theme, "If the residents of Dinotopia came to your hometown, how would you welcome them?"
Having just returned from a St. George trip to visit her grandparents, Kathryn decided to do a poster of herself reclining against a dinosaur in an arches/
red rock setting, watching a sunset. It took a few days to finish.
"She takes art pretty seriously and works hard to really make it nice," said Kathryn's mother, Laurie Noel. "She's very right-brained - she's very creative."
About 70 students in 21/2 Ridge-crest fifth-grade classes did posters, and Despain submitted 12. Three other students, Elena Bybee, Rachel Bybee and Andy Mallory, were named runners-up.
Kathryn wants to be an artist or a violinist when she grows up, but neither she nor anyone else expected success to come this early.
Despain also wasn't expecting any of her students to win, and now she's wishing she had arranged for a copy or photo of Kathryn's poster because it won't be returned.
"We're all agonizing over that because we would all like to see it," she said. "You never have a winner - you don't count on this."