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by Ken Robbins & photographed by Ken Robbins

Age Range: 6 - 12

Pub Date: March 30th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59643-344-1
Publisher: Neal Porter/Flash Point/Roaring Brook

By tossing in tidbits of history, word origins and meanings, Robbins takes the everyday subject of measurement and makes it accessible, interesting and memorable. Beginning with the units for lengths and distances, readers will not only learn about feet and inches, but also hands (the width of a palm, used to measure the height of horses) and cubits (middle finger to the elbow, mentioned in the story of Noah’s Ark in the Bible). The tie-ins to word origins may serve as mnemonic devices for readers—the word fathom comes from Old English and meant “outstretched arms,” so if readers cannot fathom something, their arms cannot reach around it. From distances, the author moves on to area—measured in acres, hectares and sections—and then on to weight—pound, ounce, ton, stone, dram and carat (which gets its name from the carob seeds whose uniformity made them a good measure of weight). Liquid measures, dry capacity and time round out the volume. The photographs are a good complement, clearly illustrating the concepts without distracting from the text. Ordinary topic; extraordinary details. (Nonfiction. 6-12)