How Much is a Million? (1985) by David M. Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
I’m finishing up this year of kids book blogging with a bunch of math picture books. How Much is a Million? is one of the classics.
Our guide is Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician who shows kids how big a million actually is with lots of concrete illustrations: kids standing on each other’s shoulders higher than airplanes fly, kids counting from 1-1,000,000 for 23 days, taking a million goldfish bowls and putting them together to make one big enough for a whale.
Then Marvelosissimo moves on to ask, “How big is a billion?” and “How tremendous is a trillion?”
Kids (and adults) use a million, billion and trillion almost interchangeably. After reading this book and seeing the differences illustrated so clearly by Steven Kellogg, they should be officially set right, even a little awed by how mind-bogglingly big these numbers are. Just right for discussions of the world’s population, the age of the earth and universe, how much billionaires actually have, deficit spending, and all the hot topics with kids.