Thursday, March 15, 2012

Books We Love: “Just a Second” by Steve Jenkins

I love it when a book changes what I know AND how I think. I don’t generally expect such a paradigm shift from a children’s book, but Just a Second does just that, compelling the reader to imagine what can (and does) take place in the span of a second.

The world is filled with wonders and this book captures the excitement of what can be accomplished in one second in both the natural and mechanical worlds. Would you have guessed that a cheetah and a sailfish cover the same distance in one second? That would be 100 feet, thank you very much. A commercial jet at cruising altitude will cover 800 feet in the same time span. And a midge (that’s a kind of gnat) bats its wings 1,000 times. In short, there’s a lot of life in one little second.

While we’re talking numbers, author and illustrator Steve Jenkins has written 27 books including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books are filled with a sense of wonderment at the pageant that is life on planet earth.

It’s time well spent if I can help my own child think in new and creative ways. Just a Second makes that task downright fun. You can expect your child to be “surprising” you with its facts for a long while. It’s the first time my child’s ever put something in the context of time. Next stop: what is accomplished in a minute? An hour? A day? How much time have you got?

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