October 24, 2013
How Big Were Dinosaurs written and illustrated by Lita Judge
How Big Were Dinosaurs
written and illustrated by Lita Judge
Roaring Brook Press
Although we think of dinosaurs as immense, even on the cover author/illustrator Lita Judge makes it clear that some may have been immense but others were no bigger than a chicken. The little one is microraptor, a deadly hunter no bigger than a chicken. The big one is Argentinosaurus, as long as four school buses and weighing more than 17 elephants.
Many books give information on size but do so in terms that raise even more questions — how long is a meter, 6 feet or 40 feet? Judge does a superb job of making the sizes of various dinosaurs meaningful to her young readers discussing them in terms of familiar things such as the height of an adult man, no bigger than a dog, or a small SUV.
Her paintings are cartoony enough to be fun but give enough realistic detail that you can easily tell her Microraptor from her Leaellynasaura. She also made sure to include a wide variety of animals based on size (small to large and heavy) but also familiar (Velociraptor) and unfamiliar (Tsintausaurus).
An afterword at the end of the books explains how scientists know how big various dinosaurs were and also gives information on where to find out more about your favorites.
I can see this book having a great deal of appeal for dinosaur lovers but also being a great jumping off point for discussions on size (bigger, smaller, etc.). That said, if you are going to read it aloud, you might want to practice some of the dinosaur names ahead of time. I stumbled through Tsintausaurus but am still unsure of how to say Leaellynasaura.