how big were dinosaurs

How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge

Whenever you think of dinosaurs, they are like the one on the cover of the book.  Huge, green and either placid plant eaters or ferocious meat eaters.  This nonfiction picture book takes a look at dinosaurs that are quite different.  There is the microraptor who is the size of a chicken.  The long-named Leaellynasaura stood as tall as an emperor penguin and lived in that same climate.  Of course there were bigger dinosaurs too.  The akylosaurus stood as tall as an SUV.  There were dinosaurs with huge claws that ate plants, ones with armor and still others with odd parts of the body that no one understands yet. 

Judge carefully chooses her dinosaurs in this book.  Understanding that the littlest dinosaurs lack the vibrant punch of the huge ones, the book quickly changes to the more imposing creatures.  She shares just enough about each dinosaur to make the book readable.  In fact, this is one nonfiction picture book about dinosaurs that could be shared at a storytime or aloud in a unit.  Judge packs lots of fascinating facts into the book.  It ends with the science behind figuring out what dinosaurs used to look like and a fold-out page with all of the dinosaurs in the book shown next to each other with lots of numbers and facts.

Judge’s playful illustrations are great fun.  Throughout the book, she uses humans to show the scale of the dinosaurs as well as other animals.  The humans don’t just stand next to the dinosaurs, they interact and react to them.  I particularly enjoyed the image of the woman batting at a dinosaur with a broom.  It’s those little touches of humor that suit this book so well.

Readable, fun and filled with science, this book on dinosaurs will be a welcome addition to those crowded shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.