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Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Cold is it?

Despite the clear blue sky and deceivingly strong sunshine, schools were closed again today due to extreme cold and wind. Usually, I would be ecstatic about having another day at home, but no school means many changes of schedules and plans...and another day we have to make up at some other point. It did give me the chance to read a few books.

In thinking about comparisons and just how cold it is (cold enough that my eyelashes froze and my sunglasses had a layer of frost on the lenses during my run), I decided to write about Lita Judge's latest book How Big Were Dinosaurs? I expected it to simply demonstrate dinosaur sizes. Knowing Lita, I should have known it would be far greater than that. 

Not only did I learn dinosaurs names never before uttered in this house (where dinosaurs were popular subject matter for several years), like leaellynasaura and struthiomimus, but Lita's comparisons completely placed dinosaur sizes in contexts I could comprehend. Her paintings help make those comparisons even more vivid. Protoceratops, for example, was no bigger than a baby rhinoceros, so seeing the adult rhinoceros walking over a protoceratops was perfect for my mental image. I especially loved the velociraptor (about the size of a dog) pulling the boy down the street (switch the dog obediently by his side). The last page folds out into a four-page spread that features all the dinosaurs and creatures mentioned in the book, along with a pronunciation guide to dinosaur names, size estimates, and time period information. 

I know readers will love this book as much I as do. It will be an excellent read-aloud choice this spring.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a similar book at the Minneapolis Central library today. Perhaps the same book, but I thought the title was something like "Dinosaurs on Your Street." Great illustrations showing relative sizes. Too bad I just thumbed through it and didn't check it out. I am reluctant to use books that show people and dinosaurs together, however, because it seems to be we have to work hard to overcome "dinos and people were on earth together" -- which of course, they weren't.