January 26, 2015

Big ideas scaled down

If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
by David J. Smith
illustrated by Steve Adams

Some facts and concepts are so huge, it's hard to wrap your mind around them. David J. Smith takes these hard-to-grasp ideas and shrinks them down to manageable sizes. The 3.5 billion years of life on earth is compressed into one hour (or, to make it even easier, 24 hours), a timeline of inventions is presented on a 36-inch-long tape measure, the amount of water on Earth is represented by 100 glasses of water (of which only one is available to us), and all the wealth in the world is divided up into piles of coins. 

Definitely mind-boggling, Smith's book presents information in a fun, accessible way, helped by Steve Adams' bright illustrations, which reinforce each concept. Useful for home and school, Smith also includes six activities and a list of resources (books, reports, websites) that help make scale meaningful to children.

An excellent book.

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