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Just a Second Hardcover – October 25, 2011
All Books, All the Time
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"This subtly philosophical examination of time, scale, and the mechanics of life is all but certain to leave readers reconsidering the world and their place in it."— Publishers Weekly, starred review "This is a fascinatingly different way to approach natural history as well as time..."— Bulletin"Jenkins renders this package both eye-catching and mind boggling. Teachers will find good jumping-off points here for math, science, and history discussions."— School Library Journal, starred review
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"A vulture in flight flaps its wings once. A pygmy shrew's heart beats 14 times. A bat makes 200 high-pitched calls. A rattlesnake shakes its tail in warning 60 times. A hummingbird beats its wings 50 times. A bumblebee beats its wings 200 times. A midge, a kind of gnat, beats its wings 1,000 times. A woodpecker hammers a tree with its beak 20 times."
And that's just the first page! Using his signature bright backdrops and collage animals, Jenkins gives us more "one second" examples before going on to talk about what animals--and plants and planets--do in one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month, and one year. He throws in an extra spread called "Very Quick" for things that happen in even less than a second. I once looked all over the place for information about the speed at which a frog zaps and swallows an insect (and had trouble finding that fact); here Jenkins tells us that the Shasta salamander "can snap up an insect in 1/100 of a second."
The author/illustrator also gives us "Very Long," including "an ocean quahog, a clam, [that] lived to be 405 years old...." and he throws in a history of the universe (on one page!), Earth's human population growth from 1750 to a projected 2050, plus an extra chart about plant and animal life spans. Pretty stuff, and pretty fascinating!