David J. Smith
Steve Adams

“Some things are so huge or so old that it's hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch? Instantly, we'd see our world in a whole new way”. So begins this endlessly intriguing guide to better understanding all those really big ideas and numbers children come across on a regular basis. Author David J. Smith has found clever devices to scale down everything from time lines (the history of Earth compressed into one year), to quantities (all the wealth in the world divided into one hundred coins), to size differences (the planets shown as different types of balls). Accompanying each description is a kid-friendly drawing by illustrator Steve Adams that visually reinforces the concept.

By simply reducing everything to human scale, Smith has made the incomprehensible easier to grasp, and therefore more meaningful. The children who just love these kinds of fact-filled, knock-your-socks-off books will want to read this one from cover to cover. It will find the most use, however, as an excellent classroom reference that can be reached for again and again when studying scale and measurement in math, and also for any number of applications in social studies, science and language arts. For those who want to delve a little deeper, Smith has included six suggestions for classroom projects. There is also a full page of resource information at the back of the book.

978-1-894786-34-8 | Aug 1, 2014
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $19.99
4-color 9 3/8 x 9 3/8 40 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12

Awards & Reviews

“If this book were a pizza, young readers would gobble down every slice---and demand more for dessert.”
— Kirkus Reviews, June 2014
“Smith, who employed the same kind of imaginative scaling down of ideas in his popular 2002 book, If the World Were a Village, does a great job making nearly incomprehensible concepts less so.”
— Quill & Quire, August 2014
“The text serves as an excellent discussion starter and bridge to comprehending big concepts. A solid suggestion for fact-focused young readers.”
— School Library Journal, August 2014
“... this is one of those books school-age children can happily page through many times, and even adults may find themselves taking a second and third whirl.”
— The New York Times, August 2014
“... this is absorbing and informative.”
— Booklist, October 2014
“The best thing about If... is that it can be truly enjoyed by all ages. ... If... is also an excellent resource for teachers as it easily fits into Mathematics, Social Studies, History, and Geography at different grade levels.”
— CM Magazine, November 2014
“This would be a fun book to book-talk to children in grades two to six.”
— Resource Links, January 2015
2016 - Silver Birch Express, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2016 - Rocky Mountain Book Award, RMBA, Short-listed
2016 - BC Young Readers' Choice Award, Red Cedar Book Awards, Winner
2015 - USBBY Outstanding International Books, honor list, International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), Winner
2015 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association, Short-listed
2014 - Eureka! Gold Award, California Reading Association, Winner
2014 - Books of the Year, Kidlit Picks, Quill & Quire, Winner
2014 - 2014 OLA Best Bet List for Children, OLA's Canadian Materials Committee, Winner

Also Recommended