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Ten Times Better Hardcover – September 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Michelson and the recently deceased Baskin follow up A Book of Flies with an imaginative numbers book that picks up where most others leave off. Tackling the concept of multiplying by 10, the duo waltzes through a virtual bestiary of creatures who jostle and joust for position. When an elephant boasts, "When I get hot, my ONE big schnozz'll/ double as a shower nozzle," a squid retorts, "Big nose? Big deal. I'm TEN times wetter./ TEN tentacles are TEN TIMES BETTER." A three-toed sloth faces off against a 30-legged centipede, and a five-armed starfish is told off by a school of 50 goldfish. Michelson's jocular verse injects plenty of laughs into the calculations, while Baskin's jaunty, detailed watercolors deploy a sophisticated palette of muted autumnal hues. Several images are swallowed as they cross the gutter, a flaw for which the gatefold spread showing 100 "humble bumble bees" is partial compensation. An afterword explains more about each animal and throws in a related word problem ("If you weighed fifty pounds you could lift a fifty pound television set. Ants are TEN TIMES STRONGER. If an ant weighed fifty pounds, how many pounds could it lift?"). This one may not be precisely 10 times more fun than the average math concept book, but who's counting? Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-The conceit to this collection is a little tricky to figure out at first: Michelson has used the idea of multiplying by 10 to present facts about various common and unusual animals. For instance, after a three-toed sloth brags of his digits, a centipede (whose illustration and text are set smaller in the corner of the same spread) proclaims: "Just three? Dear me. The centipede/is TEN TIMES BETTER. Built for speed,/our THIRTY feet are quite a plus./We're fast-if no one steps on us." Though his use of language is clever and precise, the author tries to get a lot into the four lines he allows each creature, and the capitalized numbers and overuse of enjambment bog down the reading. The verses do read aloud well, and the varied and off-center layouts (including a pullout for the final page) are pleasing from a distance, making this a good choice for storytimes. Additional facts, questions, and answers about each animal at the end (with an index) should be fun for individual readers. Baskin's vibrant, eerie, and humorous watercolors are a great enhancement to the intricately playful verses. Though not quite as successful a whole as this team's Animals That Ought to Be: Poems about Imaginary Pets (S & S, 1996), this is still a satisfying title that speaks to the sophisticate in school-aged kids. One hopes it won't be lost in the 510s, as its subject headings suggest.
Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
New York Public Library "Children's Books, 2000 - 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing."
"...an imaginative numbers book that picks up where most others leave off. Michelson's jocular verse injects plenty of laughs into the calculations, while Baskin's jaunty, detailed watercolors deploy a sophisticated palette of muted autumnal hues." --Publishers Weekly, 7/31/00
Starred Review! "Paintings full of freshness and spirit, poems whimsical and sly, and yes, even a bit of mathematics all make this book irresistible...The wordplay is completely engaging, and artist Baskin triumps again with evocative and often startling animal images in a muted palette." --Kirkus Reviews 8/15/00
"The versus read aloud well, and the varied and off-center layouts (including a pull-out for the final page) are pleasing also from a distance, making this a good choice for story times...Additional facts, questions, and answers about each animal at the end (with an index) should be fun for individual readers. Baskin's vibrant, eerie, and humorous watercolors are a great enhancement to the intricately playful verses." -School Library Journal 10/00
"...a clever concept for a counting book, and the rhyming text adds to the fun. Baskin's watercolor illustrations, lovely as always to look at... In a lavish gesture, the last page is a gatefold filled with 100 humble bumblebees. The temptation to count is irresistible." --Booklist, 10/1/00