Guiberson presents arguments as to why each of 12 dinosaurs should be considered the greatest—tallest, longest, fastest, smartest, best-armored, etc.
Each spread introduces a different species, Spirin’s oils making each dinosaur, in its earth-toned, scaly glory, come to life in its habitat. The pattern of the text makes it easy for children to chime in with every page turn: “I was the greatest. I had the longest spikes at the end of my tail. They were sharp and strong and as long as a third grader. On my back I had 17 stunning plates shaped like kites. / I, STEGASAURUS,…was the greatest dinosaur of them all.” From the well-known and common dinos to the lesser-known, like Leaellynasaura and Therizinosaurus, Guiberson provides the pronunciation under each name. Of the final three species—Archaeopteryx, Oviraptor and Microraptor—two fly, and all are depicted with feathers. Some of the “greatest” designations may be cause for dispute, but in that case, readers may enjoy giving evidence for their own candidates. Though they have a rather antique look, Spirin’s illustrations are lifelike, and most give readers a good sense of the dinosaurs’ comparative sizes. While there is no gore, these creatures sport wide-open, toothy mouths (sometimes enclosing prey). Backmatter presents thumbnails and quick information: name’s meaning, pronunciation, size, period and location.
Dino lovers will learn how their favorites stack up. (Informational picture book. 4-8)