An invitation to compare heights, lengths, weights, temperatures, and other relative measures in this German import.
Focusing largely on observations of the natural world, a mix of questions and facts (“Try counting your teeth. How many are there?…Did you know that [adult] humans have the same number of teeth as a cow?”) spurs reflection as well as chuckles. The ruminative tone of the narrative is echoed in the China-born illustrator’s cleanly drawn, serigraphic-style illustrations, which feature serene-looking animals, twisting lines in a 5,000-year-old pine or the tentacles of a colossal squid, and light- or dark-skinned adults and children, all posed in conjunction on pale-hued, plain backgrounds. Though the language is sometimes confusingly imprecise (it is unclear what is being measured in a claim that an albatross’s wingspan is “2.5 times their average height” or a small dinosaur’s “length” compared to a supposedly larger mountain goat that is visibly shorter in the picture), the actual units of measure are plainly intended as averages rather than exact figures. Those units (mostly English) are accurate enough in general and sometimes amusingly unconventional to boot: A goliath beetle larva, for instance “weighs more than a bar of chocolate,” and a red deer’s time in the 100-meter dash easily outpaces Usain Bolt’s. A final observation that there are many “surprising things big and small” in the world makes a properly open-ended concluding promise.
A low-key consciousness raiser, more about the fun (and value) of measuring than the importance of accurate results. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-7)