'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 29 December 2012

Review: Can You Count to a Googol?

Would you say that one hundred is a big number? How about one thousand? Or one million? That’s starting to get big, but what if you want a really, REALLY big number? A number like a googol.

With text and illustrations to engaging young imaginations, author Robert Wells takes children on a journey from 1 to a googol and beyond. By multiplying by 10 (or multiples of 10), he helps readers to understand how numbers can quickly move from small to big to huge. At each stage, the numbers are given a real-life example such as one banana balanced on a nose, one hundred penguins each holding a ten-scoop ice-cream and so on through to numbers that measure the distance between stars and the age of the sun.

Can You Count to a Googol is a fantastic book for children grappling with the concept of large numbers and the idea that numbers continue forever – no matter how large the number you are thinking about, you can always add a zero to the end and make it ten times larger. I can remember my own son asking questions about infinity and googols are a reasonably young age, fascinated by the idea that numbers never stop.

The book is part of the Wells of Knowledge science series, which includes books on a variety of scientific and mathematical concepts for your readers.

As a mother with some experience in finding ways to explain mathematical concepts to a young child who ‘needed’ to know ‘right now’, I can definitely recommend this book as a great way to break the concept of large numbers down into something that children can easily understand.

PS. For those of you out there who aren’t quite sure what a googol actually is, it is a ‘1’ followed by 100 zeroes (in the way 100 is a 1 followed by two zeroes). I had to look it up when my 5-year-old asked me and I have to say I wish I’d had this book on hand to help when he did.

Title:  Can You Count to a Googol? (Wells of Knowledge series)
Author/Illustrator: Robert E. Wells
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co, US$7.99 RRP
Publication Date: 2000
Format:  Picture book
ISBN:  9780807510612
For ages:  5 - 10
Type: Picture book