Thursday, August 30, 2012

How Many Jelly Beans?

Booklist starred (July 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 21))

Grades K-2. Learning 1 to 10 can be a task, but once kids hear about the really big numbers, they often start throwing them around like candy. Here’s an oversize book that visualizes for kids what they’re already talking about in a clever, clear, and candy-coated fashion. The premise is simple and cleanly executed: two kids are asked how many jelly beans they’d like by an off-camera adult. Emma starts off with a handful of 10, which Aiden tops with his two-fisted 20. And so begins a war of escalation. As the numbers skyrocket from 25 and 100 to 10,000 and 100,000, the accompanying visuals match the numbers with, we think, corresponding, brightly colored jelly-bean dots. The exact numbers aren’t the point, though; it’s all about conceptualizing just how big those big numbers really are. And, as the enormous, multipage foldout packed full of a million jelly beans shows, they can get big enough to blow your mind. But it’s not all abstraction, either: when Aiden boasts that “in a whole year I could eat A THOUSAND JELLY BEANS,” Emma realizes that that’s only two or three jelly beans a day, so, duh, anyone could do that. This fresh approach to huge numbers should get kids thinking big time. Just wait’ll they hear about a billion.

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