Okay, I know there’s likely not a million books about number size. But here are a couple.
How Big is a Million? By Anna Milbourne and Serena Riglietti (513.211 MiH 2008 PIC BK) is a very sweet picture book about a baby penguin’s quest to ‘see’ how much a million is. He learns that 10 fish is a lot but a million is much, much more. Then he learns that even though a 100 or a 1000 are also big numbers, a million is much, much more. But Mama Penguin has the answer to his question and when the reader opens up the larger poster at the back of the book, we too can see a million stars in the night sky. I can’t imagine trying to count every single little speck on this poster, yet I’m sure there will be a few kids out there who will try. Though the illustrations are very cute and the premise is clear, there really isn’t much of a narrative for this picture book. Suggested for kindergarten to grade 2.
Big Numbers and Pictures that Show Just How Big They Are! by Edward Packard (513.5 PaB 2000) though also about big numbers, extends the premise way beyond a mere million to a quadrillion. I love how the size of the number is illustrated with peas – 1 pea on a dinner plate, 10 peas on a dinner plates, 1000 peas fills a dinner plate, 1 million peas covers the kitchen table, 1 billion peas fills a house, one trillion fills a neighbourhood, etc. Lots of humour as you might expect with this one, plus little asides that compare aspects of a particular big number like 10 billion bacteria could fit in a drop of water or that a 100 million years ago there were dinosaurs. I would use this one with kids in grades 3 to 6.
Two other quick recommendations are How Much is a Million? by David Schwartz (513.2 ScH 1985 PIC BK) and A Million Dots by Andrew Clements (513.2 ReeM 2006 PIC BK) both for a similar age group kindergarten to grade 3 or 4.
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