Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

Just a Second

A Different Way to Look at Time

by Steve Jenkins


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Just a Second

A Different Way to Look at Time

by Steve Jenkins
Reviewed August 11, 2012.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 2011.
Starred Review
2012 Sonderbooks Standout: #6 Children's Nonfiction

I think this is the first time I've read a book by Steve Jenkins where I pored over the words without noticing the exquisite art the first time through. Make no mistake, his cut-paper art is as detailed and amazing as ever. It's so realistic, I'm not sure I noticed at first that it was his usual cut-paper art and not drawings.

But the text! This is a practical way to explain time. He mentions where seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years came from (most being a long-time-ago invention of man). Then he tells some things that happen in each amount of time.

Did you know that in one second "A peregrine falcon in a dive, or stoop, plunges more than 300 feet"?

Did you know that in one week "Moose antlers, the fastest-growing tissue of any mammal, can add 6 inches to their length"?

Did you know that in one year "More than 2,000,000 people are killed by mosquito-borne diseases"? "Humans cut down 4,000,000,000 trees"?

The book is full of facts like that: some fascinating, some surprising, some disturbing. Some, like "In one year an estimated 50 people are killed by sharks," may be included because the accompanying illustrations are so much fun.

This book definitely succeeds as a "Different Way to Look at Time." Good for children learning about time, as well as for science buffs, as well as for the simply curious.