Cover image for Gigantic! : how big were the dinosaurs?
Gigantic! : how big were the dinosaurs?
O'Brien, Patrick, 1960-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Explains the names of fourteen dinosaurs, from Stegosaurus to Compsognathus, and describes their physical characteristics, size, and probable behavior.
General Note:
Includes one poster attached to inside back cover.
Reading Level:
AD 720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.6 0.5 45136.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.3 1 Quiz: 23563 Guided reading level: N.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QE862.D5 O27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QE862.D5 O27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QE862.D5 O27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



By studying the dinosaur bones discovered over the last two hundred years, scientists have an idea of how big some of the dinosaurs were. Now dinosaur fans of all ages can see for themselves exactly what "big" means. Vivid and exciting, Gigantic! puts some of children's favorite dinosaurs head-to-head with monster trucks, cherry pickers, and tanks.As a child, Patrick O'Brien was fascinated by the illustrations of prehistoric animals in children's books. This lifelong fascination has grown as he continues to study and paint these giants of the past. In this book, accessible to even the youngest picture-book readers, his realistic, highly detailed illustrations easily convey size, and provide a fascinating study of the giants who once ruled the earth.

Author Notes

Patrick O' Brien has illustrated several children's books, including A Wasp Is Not a Bee , Teddy Roosevelt's Elk , and Bottoms Up . His work has also appeared on posters, videotape boxes, and even refrigerator magnets. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-7. A stegosaurus and a Volkswagen Beetle side by side? It happens in this book in which dinosaurs are compared to modern things such as cars, fire engines, monster trucks, and a human or two. Ankylosaurus is described as an armored tank and stands beside the real life army version. The classic fins of a vintage convertible are rivaled only by the six-foot sail on the back of a spinosaurus. Comparison is the name of the game with these 14 dinosaurs, but a few other tidbits are thrown in that describe likely attributes. All are handsomely painted in oils on mostly white backgrounds. Gigantic? Not all. Compsognathus wasn't much bigger than a duck, and O'Brien supplies the picture to prove it. --Denia Hester

Publisher's Weekly Review

Comparing dinosaurs with familiar items to give a sense of their real size, these oil paintings line up the armored Ankylosaurus with the military tank it resembles and set the petite Compsognathus side-by-side with a mother duck. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Facts are great but what draws many kids to dinosaurs is their enormous size-bodies that were 4 stories tall or weighed as much as 15 elephants. O'Brien focuses on the awe-inspiring dimensions of these prehistoric beasts, and uses his well-articulated paintings to compare dinos to familiar (and often human-made) objects. The huge flying Quetzalcoatlus, which looks like a pterosaur on steroids, soars ahead of a biplane, while Phobosuchus, a giant crocodile, is much longer than the fire engine next to it. Triceratops, whose "massive head was a dangerous weapon," is shown facing down a mounted knight in full armor, while Tyrannosaurus rex leers at an Elizabethan monarch sitting on a throne. The text is very brief; notes at the end fill in more information about the sizes of the creatures. O'Brien also explains that not all of these beasts are dinosaurs; for example, the giant armored Dinichthys is really a prehistoric fish. The simplicity of the text and the clarity of these examples, one per double-page spread, will make this book popular with even the youngest dinosaur fans. Like David Peters's Giants of Land, Sea and Air-Past and Present (Knopf, 1986), it succeeds in conveying a sense of size across many millennia.-Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.