Reviews for Can You Count to a Googol?


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 2000
Ages 4^-6. This counting book begins with 1 and moves up: 10, 100, 10,000, 100,000, and so on, building to the concept of a googol, the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. Some math teachers will object to the notion of adding zeros after a number, which Wells sometimes does, instead of multiplying by 10 or 1,000. Still, the simple, colorful ink-and-acrylic illustrations of 1,000 scoops of ice cream, 100,000 marshmallows, and 1,000,000 dollars will help children visualize big numbers represented by familiar objects. Like Wells' previous books, such as What's Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? (1995), this picture book encourages young children to stretch their minds a bit. The last page offers a short history of the googol, including its naming by a 9-year-old boy. Good supplementary material for the math curriculum. ((Reviewed March 1, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Fall
Effective when it uses familiar objects, such as 10,000 pennies or 100,000 marshmallows, to get across a sense of a number's size, this counting book falters with its larger number examples, such as the distance between the sun and the next closest star (25 trillion years), which may be difficult for young readers to conceptualize. Playful pen and acrylic illustrations feature monkey and penguin astronauts. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 March #2
paper 0-8075-1061-0 Parents and teachers seeking ways to combine reading with math for young children will welcome this helpful book. Wells (What s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah?, 1997, etc.) works on the basic math concept of adding zeros to make larger and larger numbers, an idea that often fascinates children. The text begins with the number one and adds zeros, illustrating each new number with lively artwork. As the book and the numbers progress, the text and illustrations help by tying numbers to concepts already understood, such as ice cream cones and money. Although younger children may have difficulty reading some of the longer words, the illustrations and the author's appeal to children's active imaginations make this book great for read-alouds and for encouraging kids to enjoy math. By the way, a googol really is a named number, as the author explains on the last page. (Nonfiction. 5-8) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 May
Gr 2-4-The author illustrates how our number system builds by powers of 10 and helps develop a concept of what those numbers mean. The initial illustrations are silly: a girl balances one banana on her nose; a monkey balances 10 bananas using limbs and tail; 100 eagles pull a basket of children through the sky. A more realistic sequence illustrates millions to billions. A large wooden crate is loaded with 1,000,000 dollar bills; 10 of these crates are loaded onto a flatbed trailer (10 x $1,000,000 or $10,000,000); 10 of the trailers are loaded onto a barge ($100,000,000); and a harbor is filled with 10 barges ($1,000,000,000). The author explains that a googol, the number with 100 zeros, is too big to illustrate. "If you counted every grain of sand on all the worlds' beaches, and every drop of water in all the oceans, that wouldn't even be CLOSE to a GOOGOL." Children are reminded that numbers go on forever by a rocket speeding off into space, accompanied by a trail of zeros. The switch from fanciful to factual in these examples is somewhat jarring, but the pen-and-acrylic cartoons do adequately illustrate the growing numbers. Though David M. Schwartz's How Much Is a Million? (Lothrop, 1985), with its consistent playful tone and imaginative number illustrations, is still a preferable choice, Wells's model of building numbers could be a useful addition.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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