________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number 17 . . . . October 6, 1995

How Much, How Many, How Far, How Heavy, How Long, How Tall is 1000?

Helen Nolan. Illustrated by Tracy Walker.
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1995. 32pp, cloth, $14.95
ISBN 1-55074-164-0.

Subject Heading:
Thousand (The number)--Juvenile literature.

Grades 1 - 6 / Ages 6 - 11.
Review by A. Edwardsson.


How much is 1000? Is it a lot? That depends. If you don't like freckles, 1000 of them is a lot. But when it comes to hair, 1000 isn't very many. What about 1000 french fries? Could you eat all of them? Even if you loved fries, 1000 would be too much for one person. You could share them. A single serving has about 40 fries. How many friends would 1000 french fries feed?

image Author Helen Nolan's inventive book offers kids a simple introduction to the mathematical concept of estimation. Through an inclusive question and-answer format, she sets up a series of problems that will interest both children and adults. For example: "How tall is a stack of 1000 pennies? Is it as tall as you are? A stack of pennies is about as tall as an eleven-year-old, but a stack of dimes would be about as tall as a seven- year-old." Now, obviously not all eleven-year-olds are the same height, but this book doesn't bog kids down with dry details or disclaimers.

This isn't an in-depth examination, but rather a look at measurement in general terms that children can relate to. There are no "chapters." Estimating answers is encouraged. In fact, enquiring minds, or those who want exact results, may be provoked into challenging the answers. The book claims, for instance, that one thousand steps would take you around a baseball diamond "about four times." This would be a fun and easy experiment for a child to re-enact.


The work is presented as a picture book, with clearly readable text of no more than fives lines per page. Tracy Walker's zany pencil and watercolour illustrations are the perfect match for the thought-provoking subject matter. We accompany a freckle-faced brother and sister (aged seven or eight perhaps) and their goofy, high-spirited dalmatian as they encounter the various measurements.

The artwork is in primary colours and has many whimsical, comic details. For example, when we read "1000 people sitting in rows will fill a small hockey arena," we recognize the masked goalie by her ponytail ribbons, while in the stands her brother catches sight of their dog seated a few rows back waving a pennant.


The book ends with a half-page note to parents. It suggests ways for adults to make estimation a game their children can play. The lengthy title is slightly misleading, however; most of the work deals with how much or how many, with only one example each of how far, heavy, long, or tall.

Despite this nitpicking, the book is engaging and would be a great addition to libraries whether public or private.

Highly recommended.

A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Authors' Association.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364