Adler anchors great numbers in cool facts, but once past a billion, the zeroes are still helplessly dizzying.

MILLIONS, BILLIONS, & TRILLIONS

UNDERSTANDING BIG NUMBERS

Adler endeavors to get a grip on the slipperiness of big numbers.

Adler, along with Miller and his cut-out–style, cartoony artwork, has delivered on all manner of math, to the delight of those who turn into deer-in-the-headlights when confronted with numbers (Perimeter, Area, and Volume, 2012, etc.). Here they take a stab at wrapping young heads around millions and billions and beyond. The book starts out with “One million is a lot. It’s one thousand thousands,” but words aren’t enough. You have got to visualize. A million is the number of sugar granules in a quarter-cup measure. Spill them out on a piece of construction paper and take a gander. One million. They try to keep the mood upbeat, counting sundaes (with a billion dollars, “[a]t five dollars a sundae, you could buy one thousand sundaes every day for more than five hundred years”) or birthday parties—but they throw in the towel on a grace note and a reprieve: “You couldn’t count to a trillion.” There are also a couple of bracingly sly jabs: “Someone with one billion dollars could give away ten million dollars every year for one hundred years.” Listen up, you 1 percent. An abbreviated tour from quadrillion to sextillion is followed by the deflating news that “names for large numbers are not the same everywhere. In some parts of the world, what we call a billion is called a milliard,” but by now we have come to suspect these big numbers are pretty crazy creatures.

Adler anchors great numbers in cool facts, but once past a billion, the zeroes are still helplessly dizzying. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2403-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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In a word, a feast for the eyes, brain, and artistic imagination.

THE WORDY BOOK

Words and pictures connect in surprising, stimulating ways.

Talk about painting with words. Author/illustrator Paschkis plays with them, too, and encourages readers to do likewise. In the process, she explores the elasticity and seemingly endless possibilities of language. The vividly colored, wittily detailed, folk-style paintings on double-page spreads organically incorporate words into the artwork in wondrous, creative ways. Words frequently repeat in different sizes and colors; illustrated images include words that sound or are shaped like them, are variations of them, rhyme or nearly rhyme with them, sort of resemble them, are sort of spelled like them, etc. A bouquet of flowers in a vase sports roses exuding the scents of slumber, sultry, shush, and other evocative words beginning with S; on a daisy’s petals readers find dizzy, doozy, lazy, jazzy; lief, leap, life, and more decorate the leaves. Delightful words—many of which readers won’t know, and that’s OK—flex vocabulary and spelling muscles to the max and also enhance readers’ visual and auditory senses when the pictures are taken in. Furthermore, the spreads are connected to thought-provoking questions. Some inspired the paintings, or vice versa, and themselves contain examples of wordplay. Persons depicted have diverse skin tones. The book makes a great springboard for creative-thinking activities in writing and art units in classroom and library programs. Keep dictionaries handy. Endpapers abound with swirling words readers can savor (and look up).

In a word, a feast for the eyes, brain, and artistic imagination. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-353-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early...

WE ARE GROWING!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Elephant and Piggie make an appearance to introduce the first in their new series, an egalitarian introduction to superlatives.

Each one of seven blades of talking grass—of a total of eight—discovers that it is superb at something: it’s tallest, curliest, silliest, and so forth. The humor aims to appeal to a broad spectrum. It is slightly disturbing that one being eaten by purple bugs is proud of being the crunchiest, but that will certainly appeal to a slice of the audience. The eighth blade of grass is grappling with a philosophical identity crisis; its name is Walt, a sly reference to Whitman's Leaves of Grass that will go right over the heads of beginning readers but may amuse astute parents or teachers. Tension builds with the approach of a lawn mower; the blades of grass lose their unique features when they are trimmed to equal heights. Mercifully, they are chopped off right above the eyes and can continue their silly banter. Departing from the image of a Whitman-esque free spirit, Walt now discovers he is the neatest. Lots of speech bubbles, repetition, and clear layout make this entry a useful addition to lessons on adjectives and superlatives while delivering a not-so-subtle message that everyone is good at something. Elephant and Piggie's final assertion that “this book is the FUNNIEST” doesn't necessarily make it so, however.

Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2635-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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