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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  133 reviews
"Some things are so huge or so old that it's hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch? Instantly, we'd see our world in a whole new way." So begins this endlessly intriguing guide to better understanding all those really big ideas and numbers children come ac ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 1st 2014 by Kids Can Press
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Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away, from the the gorgeous illustrations to the startling concepts. However, it might be a little wordy for young children.

*I won a copy through a goodreads giveaway*
Rana Heshmati
اگر این کتاب رو همون موقع که عشق نجوم و کتابهای علمی بودم میخوندم... وای که دیوانهاش میشدم ...more
Bruce Gargoyle
Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress... (Aug 1)

I received a digital copy of this title for review from Netgalley.

This book does exactly what it says on the box (well, cover). Each double page spread deals with a particular quantity or size that is difficult to conceptualise and with the aid of delightful and inspiring illustrations, puts things into metaphorical perspective. The concepts include the size of the galaxy, the relative time span of various historical events, and rela
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: thank you to netgalley and Kids Can Press for a copy of this book.

'If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers' is a fantastic book which helps children (and adults!) visualise large statistics in a manageable and imaginative way. For example, the statement 'If all the money in the world was represented by 100 coins....' is demonstrated by beautifully illustrated piles of coins with different amounts of little people standing atop of them. 40 of those coins would b
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
کتابی برای این که دقیقا بفهمید چقدر کوچکیم، چقدر فقیریم، چقدر ناچیز و بی اهمیتیم، و در ین حال برای این که بفهمیم چقدر خفنیم!
A superb book that makes it easier for children (and adults!) to understand some facts that are either so huge or so old by relating them to more familiar things they can see and touch. For example, the relative sizes of planets in our solar system are compared by each being shown as a different type of ball.

The brilliant illustrations help increase comprehension of amazing facts and figures, using scales, maps, timelines, everyday objects and items. There are additional ideas for parents and te
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Science is so cool, and so is history, don't you think? Particularly when you can take something very difficult to wrap one's head around (How far away is Saturn? How big is it?) and put it into everyday terms (distances on a football field, or days on a calendar). If . . . will bend your mind in exciting ways, giving you new ways to contemplate things you may already know. An excellent diving-in point for kids and classroom teachers!
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
3.5ish stars.

A little bit TL;DR. Some pages were more interesting than others, but some of them were really fascinating. Some pages did provide a mind-bending new way of looking at things as the title promises.

Illustrations: 3.5
Story: 3.5
Edward Sullivan
Great job reducing difficult concepts and huge numbers to concepts children can appreciate and understand.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Awesome way to present important and interesting facts and ideas to young readers. Definitely one of my favorites (for children) of 2014!
Meagan Paschal
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
“If…A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers” by David Smith is a must have for children (and adults) who are fascinated by the complexity of our world and universe. Even as an adult, some of the concepts of time and size are hard to imagine, and for children even more difficult to understand. Through both text features and beautiful illustrations, “If…” provides children and adults with relatable items to grasp just how large our solar system is (and how small we are!), how la ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was the best book ever. The book teaches lots of new things and illuminates. It shows how big and wonderful our planet and universe is. It also shows how everything on the earth and in the universe is balanced but how and how much human is harming it, what will happen if we keep going like that. The most interesting part of this book is its pictures. They are absolutely amazing. They are interesting, inspiring, and fun. The pictures in the book make you read it several more times. There are ...more
Ian Wood
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a nove
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"If " is an amazing book. The concepts are mind-bending and attainable for finite minds, just like mine.

David Smith takes concepts that are so humungous and so ancient that we cannot even conceive of making sense of them. He is brilliant as he shapes these overwhelming, hard-to-imagine ideas and compares them to everyday things that we can see and are familiar with, thus bringing them down to a level that we can comprehend. Kids will be amazed and very interested as one after another these fact
I love this concept! As someone who struggles with concepts of scale myself, I appreciate the attempt to make large ideas and numbers more understandable and relatable. However, I think it could have been executed better.

For me, the "Events of the Last 3000 Years" spread was actually more confusing than a standard timeline. The spread of "The Continents" is also confusing, mostly because South America is a smaller percentage (3%) than North America (4.1%), but the South American portion of the p
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
A whoops-should-have-kept-my-Amazon-wishlist-updated acquisition - thanks mom.

Nice art, has the effect of old paint on wooden surfaces.

I really didn't get the "mind-bending new" bit of the way the subject matter was presented. Books and posters using everyday objects to help children grasp the scale of very large objects or numbers have been around since I was a child (so, at least 25 years), and I suspect they predate me by quite a bit.

This was repetitive in places - there are three spreads in
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
A unique book that shrinks down concepts that are hard to wrap your brain around to a familiar and smaller scale.

This book was helpful to me, even as an adult and I know I would have loved this book as a child. Besides putting large concepts on a smaller scale for comparison, seeing things on a smaller scale also helps us see the significance of everything we have. For example, "If all the water on Earth were represented by 100 glasses...97 of the glasses would be filled with salt water...3 of
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on Children's Atheneum

Numbers are big. Huge. Some are so astronomically big that it is almost impossible to imagine them. And so David Smith tries to narrow it down. Imagine if all the world's wealth were 100 gold coins. How would those 100 coins be distributed throughout the world? Imagine that the planets were the sizes of balls. Taking things like population, the size of the universe, history, Smith scales them down to a number that is easier to comprehend.

Although w
Amy Alvis
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely a book I want in my teacher library. It covers many topics including: Our Galaxy, The Planets, Inventions through Time, Species of Living Things, Energy and many more.

Children have such a hard time understanding large numbers. The page about the Planets is something I will definitely be using when I teach our Earth and Space Science unit. The author used everyday items that my students (and yours) can relate to when describing the size of the planets in relationship to each ot
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
With cute, fun illustrations, this book puts extremely large numbers into a new perspective. From the size of our galaxy to the age of the earth to life expectancy, population, food and more, this book gives a unique look at the size of the numbers involved. For example: "If all the enerty sources in the world were represented by 100 light bulbs... fossil fuels would power 81 of the 100 light bulbs." I think this book is fabulous and should be in all school libraries and all public libraries. It ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really appreciate the way that David Smith can represent concepts in a way that can be understood (this works particularly well in terms of time - given the age in which humans have been on earth), and then adding into that the various inventions, and very big ideas, such as the differences in water use, energy consumption, etc., around the planet. This would be a phenomenal resource for a wide variety of ages, as it would work not only for introducing these concepts but also provide a springb ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely brilliant! A fantastic resource to get students intrigued about the world around them; to give them a sense of size and proportion for things that are far too big to understand otherwise. I learned so much myself! Totally intriguing!
What an amazing resource too to provoke interest, curiosity and questions at the beginning of a unit of inquiry. The examples I came across would fit Where We Are In Place and Time, Sharing the Planet, Who We Are, Who the World Works... and mo
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This concept, which is huge, was presented in such a friendly way. I admit, I read it twice in one sitting because I thought i might have missed something. We have no idea who immense and minute the universe and the things in it really are, but these comparisons are comparisons a kid can wrap his or her head around and have it make sense. I recommend this one for all libraries. The page to parents and teachers was a huge help as well.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Huge concepts are scaled down to help kids wrap their minds around facts such as the age of the earth, the size of our galaxy, etc. A great "grow with me" kind of book to go back to for several years. Not only is the artwork stunning, it supports the ideas presented on the page. Cool book! Read my full review of this title at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall.
Debbie Tanner
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: math, picture-book
This gorgeous picture book makes graphical representations of some big ideas, like the size of the solar system, the age of the earth, the size of continents and the ocean (my favorite). The pictures are beautiful and the explanations are simple with out being simplistic. This is going to be a "need to have" for a Montessori classroom.
Kelsey Gourd
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If presents abstract concepts of numbers, very confusing to children, in a concrete way of understanding data and information. Even adults will read this imaginative data-driven book and say "Wow! I didn't realize that!"

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for an advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: math, nonfic-es, pic-bks
The author uses everyday objects to explain the scale of such concepts as world population, the solar system, food production, and more...making it easier for children (and adults) to visualize these large numbers and distances.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book addresses a wide variety of topics and breaks down typically hard-to-grasp ideas for students. My third graders will enjoy the different ways information is presented, and I know that the book will spark interesting discussions with them.
Such a clever book! I love how everything is measured in a really cool way that puts things into perspective.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book for curious kids!

The scaled thought exercises use ideas represented by familiar objects. A great resource for teachers to bring perspective to large concepts.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

David J. Smith, born in the U.S., is a Canadian writer of children's books.