How Big Were Dinosaurs?


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a Velociraptor for a walk, or try to brush a Tyrannosaur's teeth? We think of dinosaurs as colossal giants, but how big were they REALLY?

With kid-friendly text and seriously silly illustrations, this fact-filled book puts dinosaurs next to modern animals so that you can see exactly how they size up. And a huge fold-out chart compares the dinos to each other, from the tiniest Microraptor to ...

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a Velociraptor for a walk, or try to brush a Tyrannosaur's teeth? We think of dinosaurs as colossal giants, but how big were they REALLY?

With kid-friendly text and seriously silly illustrations, this fact-filled book puts dinosaurs next to modern animals so that you can see exactly how they size up. And a huge fold-out chart compares the dinos to each other, from the tiniest Microraptor to Argentinosaurus, the largest animal to ever walk the land.

An NPR Best Book of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Judge (Born to Be Giants) revisits familiar territory with this lighthearted but factual look at dinosaur size. Moving from smallest to largest, her illustrations juxtapose 12 dinos with modern-day objects and animals for comparison. A close-up of a fierce microraptor is followed by a scene showing the same microraptor cowering in the presence of a crowing rooster. Slightly anthropomorphized facial expressions increase the cuteness factor of the realistically rendered creatures, and humorous comparison scenarios abound: a struthiomimus is shown in the lead at a horse race, and a woman with a broom tries to keep a tsintaosaurus from devouring her garden. The concise narrative jauntily moves through the tongue-twisting dinosaur names and their dimensions (“Even velociraptor, a dinosaur that fills our imagination with its flesh-ripping claws and powerful jaws, was only the size of a dog”). Concluding notes explain how fossils are formed and how scientists use them to figure out dinosaur size. The notes open into a four-page gatefold showing all of the prehistoric and modern creatures alongside each other, giving readers a feel for their relative size. Ages 6–9. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"[a] lighthearted but factual look at dinosaur size."--Publishers Weekly

"Dino-philes, assemble!" - Kirkus

Children's Literature - Carol Mitchell
How Big Were Dinosaurs aims to provide children with a new perspective on the size of dinosaurs by comparing them with present day creatures. Children (and perhaps some adults) may be under the impression that most dinosaurs were many times larger than humans. However, in this book, readers will learn about the Microraptor that “would barely be able to look a modern-day chicken in the eye” and the Leaellynasaura that “stood only two feet tall.” The book covers the spectrum of dinosaurs from the smaller to the very largest creatures with fun colorful illustrations that show these prehistoric animals in current day scenarios, like in between penguins and in the dentist’s chair. The text is simple yet descriptive. The book ends with two fold out pages that summarize the information presented in the book. The illustrations on these pages show a parade of dinosaurs and the modern-day animals with which they were compared and would make a lovely poster, but the pages cannot be easily removed from the book. Still, caregivers and educators can use these pages as a discussion point to reinforce the information presented in the book. Reviewer: Carol Mitchell; Ages 6 to 9.
School Library Journal
★ 12/01/2013
Gr 1–3—From a cowering Microraptor, who "would barely be able to look a chicken in the eye," to an Argentinosaurus towering over a squirming pile of surprised-looking elephants (17, all told), Judge poses 12 prehistoric creatures with modern people or animals in compelling support of the observation that dinos came in a great range of sizes. In her lively, engaging watercolors, the extinct exemplars also display great ranges of colors and patterns in their feathers or scales, plus distinct dispositions: a quartet of shy Leaellynasaura, for instance, anxiously tries to blend in among a flock of same-sized emperor penguins, while Ankylosaurus, plainly in a bad mood, scowls as it batters whole cars out of its way with its clubbed tail. Along with identification for each dinosaur, the author adds brief but memorable verbal comparisons (Torosaurus "had a 10-foot skull and horns that grew as tall as a first grader"). She closes with a rousing double gatefold group portrait and leads to further print and web resources. Outstanding company for Steve Jenkins's Prehistoric Actual Size (Houghton Harcourt, 2005), with even more sizable storytime potential.—John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
The title question is answered engagingly with comparisons of a handful of dinosaurs to objects and animals children will readily recognize. Velociraptor, spreading terror in audiences since the first Jurassic Park movie, was only the size of a dog, though still pretty vicious. Stegosaurus was as heavy as three cows, but the plates on its back made it look much bigger. Argentinosaurus was the length of four school buses, but at least it was a vegetarian—it ate trees. Images of these dinos next to children, adults and common objects (note the SUV crushed by Ankylosaurus) on white backgrounds are not only amusing, but give a real sense of scale. All the people, animals and dinosaurs that populate these pages appear again, to scale, in a wonderful double foldout. Colors are clean and clear, outlines are crisp. Judge also describes how she figured out the relative sizes of the dinosaurs by studying fossils and skeletons at various museums, and she offers a very brief book and website bibliography. Perhaps a favorite might be Tsintaosaurus, which had a spike "like a giant unicorn" growing out of its head. Dino-philes, assemble! (Informational picture book. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596437197
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 466,662
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: NC1040L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

When Lita Judge was fifteen, she wrote to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada, and asked to volunteer on a dinosaur dig. She spent the next three summers digging up dinosaur bones, studying fossils, and expanding her imagination. Since then, Lita has continued to learn about the incredible diversity of the dinosaurs that used to roam the earth and brought many of them back to life in Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World. She is also the author/illustrator of Bird Talk.

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