Dinosaurs Big and Small
HarperCollins, May, 2002.
Picture Book, 40 pages.
Ages Baby - Preschool
Dinosaurs Big and Small addresses in a child's terms just how big dinosaurs were, and it also teaches how to pronounce those difficult scientific names. If one is only six, one can really impress the grownups by talking knowledgeably about Diplodocus or Seismosaurus. After reading this book with a helpful grownup, it will be great fun to go outside, look down the street and imagine a Seismosaurus that is as long as four school buses parked in a row. Or how awesome an idea that a Brachiosaurus would have weighed as much as sixteen elephants. This beautifully illustrated book addresses a child's need to understand relative size and it is very practical for a child because it relates size to things with which he is familiar.
Not only is a child introduced to how big the really giant dinosaurs were, but he also finds out the important fact that many dinosaurs were actually quite small. Starting with the Iguanodon, which is only the size of one elephant, the story turns to a dinosaur named Deinonychus which was about the size of one's father and to Coelophysis which was very dangerous and was about the size of an average kid. The story of the dinosaurs who just might have developed into birds is very interesting. One is told that Caudipteryx could have been carried around like the family cat. Mussaurus was so small it could have been picked up and cradled in a child's hands like a bird.
Although what the dinosaurs really looked like as far as color and skin texture is still a matter of conjecture, Lucia Washburn has created illustrations that are going to be very attractive to children. Executed mostly in soft pastel colors, the illustrations give a sense of the dawn of life on earth. One of the most sensitive of the paintings shows a young girl holding a baby dinosaur hatchling in her hands. The wonder and enchantment children have for small things is captured on this charming page. Ms. Washburn has accurately matched art to the purpose of this book which is to learn and understand, but not to frighten. Perhaps the most helpful section of Dinosaurs Big and Small is a the pronunciation guide for both adult and child.
Dinosaurs Big and Small will be appreciated greatly by children from ages three to six. This is the age when children are really excited about dinosaurs in general, and this book will open up a fascinating world of science for a child.
-- Sarah Reaves White
Dinosaurs Big and Small is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the June, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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