Synopses & Reviews
the Mathematical Magician
Your favorite wizard is back -- and ready to explore the invention of length, weight, and volume measurements. How tall is Moonbeam, the unicorn? How long are the whiskers of Jello, the cat? And just how heavy is that darling hog? Tons and teaspoons and ounces and feet and yards and miles ... what a headache! With millions of things to measure, wouldn't one standard system be simpler?
With another wave of the wand, Marvelosissimo introduces you to the world of metrics and makes it easy to understand the basic pattern of meters, liters, and grams. And with Steven Kellogg's playful and delightfully detailed illustrations, measuring has never been such a blast!
“The Schwartz-Kellogg team has got it right again.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician, who made How Much Is a Million? and If You Made a Million so kid-friendly, now takes readers way back in time to see how systems of measuring developed. A foot was once measured with an actual foot -- and as kids know, feet come in different sizes! Steven Kellogg's artwork brings out all the fun and wild confusion created as humankind struggles to agree on a way to measure. Covering measurements of length, volume, and weight in the English and the metric systems, Marvelosissimo cleverly shows hippos, wrestlers, and his magical unicorn being measured in both. This effortlessly encourages readers to understand comparisons without rote memorization -- the preferred way of teaching metrics. A grand gatefold opens to show an actual meter.
About the Author
In His Own Words...
"When I was growing up, the smallest and the largest things in the universe fascinated me most. Compared with them, I could be both a giant and a dwarf at the same time!
"When I peered through a microscope to view water from a nearby pond or blood extracted from my own finger, I was transported mentally to wonderful worlds of hidden life. When I looked through a telescope at heavenly bodies, I took marvelous mental journeys into space.
"I also took real journeys on my bicycle almost every day. To occupy my mind during long rides, I liked to calculate how long it would take to ride a magical bicycle all the way around the Earth... or Jupiter.. or all the way to the Moon... or to the Sun... or to a distant star. Could anybody count the trillions of stars, I wondered, and if so, how long would it take? I wanted to understand numbers like million, billion, and trillion-not just to know what they were, but to have a feel for what they meant. I found it impossible to comprehend huge distances like 93 million miles (the distance to the Sun) but it was fun to try.
"I once estimated how many books were in my town's public library, and then I told myself, "With so many books, surely I could write just one!" But I never tried until many years later. I studied biology at Cornell University, and became an elementary school teacher. One night I peered upward at a clear sky studded with stars, and all the wonder and excitement I had experienced as a child came flooding back.
"That night I decided to try to write a book that would boggle children's minds the way mine had been boggled when I contemplated the heavens and the large numbers used to describe them. The result was my first book, How Much Is A Million?
"In addition to writing children's books, I write magazine articles for adults. I am especially interested in nature and environmental issues; I now watch birds and bugs as much as stars! Being a writer enables me to learn about a wide range of subjects, from soda fountains and architecture to folk dancing and butterflies, Sometimes I get to visit fascinating places, like the rain forests of South America where I did research for an article about an endangered tribe of indigenous people struggling bravely to save their rain forest home. That trip also led to my book, Yanomami: People of the Amazon.
"I grew up on Long Island, lived in New England for 20 years, and I recently moved to northern California. When I'm not writing or researching books and articles, I am likely to be outdoors, enjoying the activities I have always loved: walking and bicycling, watching birds and gazing at the stars. They still boggle my mind!"