Cover image for If ... : a mind-bending new way of looking at big ideas and numbers
Title:
If ... : a mind-bending new way of looking at big ideas and numbers
Author:
Smith, David J. (David Julian), 1944- , author.
Publication Information:
Toronto, ON ; Tonawanda, NY : Kids Can Press, [2014]

©2014
Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
Author has found clever devices to scale down everything from time lines (the history of Earth compressed into one year), to quantities (all the wealth in the world divided into one hundred coins), to size differences (the planets shown as different types of balls).
General Note:
Chiefly illustrations.
Language:
English
Contents:
If ... -- Our galaxy -- The planets -- History of Earth -- Life on Earth -- Events of the last 3000 years -- Inventions through time -- Inventions of the last 1000 years -- The continents -- Water -- Species of living things -- Money -- Energy -- Life expectancy -- Population -- Food -- Your life -- A note for parents and teachers.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

1250 Lexile.

NC 1250 Lexile.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781894786348
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library Q163 S65 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
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Crane Branch Library Q163 S65 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Kenmore Library Q163 S65 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Orchard Park Library Q163 S65 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

'Some things are so huge or so old that it's hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch? Instantly, we'd see our world in a whole new way.' So begins this endlessly intriguing guide to better understanding all those really big ideas and numbers children come across on a regular basis. Author David J. Smith has found clever devices to scale down everything from time lines (the history of Earth compressed into one year), to quantities (all the wealth in the world divided into one hundred coins), to size differences (the planets shown as different types of balls). Accompanying each description is a kid-friendly drawing by illustrator Steve Adams that visually reinforces the concept.



By simply reducing everything to human scale, Smith has made the incomprehensible easier to grasp, and therefore more meaningful. The children who just love these kinds of fact-filled, knock-your-socks-off books will want to read this one from cover to cover. It will find the most use, however, as an excellent classroom reference that can be reached for again and again when studying scale and measurement in math, and also for any number of applications in social studies, science and language arts. For those who want to delve a little deeper, Smith has included six suggestions for classroom projects. There is also a full page of resource information at the back of the book.


Author Notes

David J. Smith is a teacher and educational consultant with over 25 years of experience in the classroom and is the creator of the award-winning curriculum "Mapping the World by Heart."

Steve Adams has collaborated with a wide range of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Globe and Mail. He has also illustrated eight children's books. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Understanding really big numbers and measurements becomes accessible through Smith's cogent use of scale and analogies. The size of the solar system, geologic history, the speed of invention, and other matters that typically are discussed with billions, millions, and other hard-to-visualize grandeur begin to make sense when represented in dinner plates, along a tape measure, plotted on a single calendar month, or divided among slices of a giant pizza. Adams' colorful and expressive full-page paintings show exactly what Smith suggests with words, with embellishments in the forms of rocket ships, whales, and in one of the most compelling visual representations, various footprints in the sand showing relative life expectancies by continent. An afterword addressing teachers and parents, by the author, contextualizes the use of scale in the classroom, and the resources offered give immediate next places to explore for deeper understanding. For kids who have outgrown Aliki's nonfiction and aren't quite ready for number explorations in Tom Jackson's 100 Ponderables series, this is absorbing and informative.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2014 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Following in the footsteps of his If America Were a Village (2009) and If the World Were a Village (2011, both Kids Can), Smith again scales down large concepts and numbers for young readers with a focus on worldly concepts. Topics ranging from our galaxy, solar system, world history, inventions, world population, and energy and food production are related to familiar everyday objects, so children can easily grasp the relationship between these big ideas. For instance: if all of Earth's water was represented by 100 drinking glasses, 97 glasses would be filled with salt water, while only three would be filled with fresh water. Only one of the three is accessible, as the remaining two would be found in glaciers, frozen in the atmosphere, or deep underground. Adams's beautiful illustrations, reminiscent of folk art, vividly portray the concepts but may occasionally lead to some confusion. When presenting world life expectancy as footprints in the sand, the illustration makes it seem as though North Americans live the longest at 78 years (with 78 footprints), but only when reading the side panel is it stated that residents of some countries would have 83 footprints. Furthermore, Smith's time lines are brief and may overlook events some find most relevant (for instance, he doesn't include the automobile on the time line of Inventions of the Last 1000 Years). An author's note provides suggestions for additional scale activities, and a list of useful books and websites can be found as well. Overall, the text serves as an excellent discussion starter and bridge to comprehending big concepts. A solid suggestion for fact-focused young readers.-Meaghan Darling, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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