The world is so big, I can understand my son not understanding some concepts. I tried to explain the amount of snow that recently covered Buffalo, New York, and he just shook his head. How can he possibly understand the distance to the moon? The extent of the universe?

If by David J. Smith and illustrated by Steve Adams (Kids Can Press, August 2014) is a nonfiction picture book that tries to give kids perspective. By comparing huge concepts to concepts that a child understands, the author makes the things that we cannot quite comprehend a little bit more real. 

For example, he compares the size of the Milky Way to a dinner plate (our whole solar system is a speck of dust). He compares all the water on the earth to 100 glasses of water (only one glass is water available to us). It was fascinating and eye opening to me!

Of course, such a conceptual book needs the illustrations to balance out the text. Steve Adams does a great job. I cannot pinpoint what type of illustrations they are (painting? all digital?) but they are stunning. Miniature people on a plate to represent the people who existed on the earth at various point in history, stacks of plates to represent the universe. Although the style of illustration carries throughout the book, each page is completely unique in its approach to representing the facts. I love it.

Give the breadth of facts this book presents, it is definitely a picture book for older kids who already have basic knowledge of concepts. A child who does not know what the solar system is, for example, would be totally lost. Also, as a side note, conservative parents should note that the book has many references to the scientific age of the earth, generally accepting the Big Bang and evolutionary theories.

There is a section at the end for parents and teachers to extend the concepts into home or classroom learning situations (as well as a lengthy list of books to reference for more interesting facts and comparisons). I loved this addition, because as a homeschooling mom I am always eager for ideas on how to incorporate great books in our lessons. This book lets me incorporate the lesson into the fascinating book!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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