cover image Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time

Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time

Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-618-70896-3

Jenkins brings fresh perspective to the passage of time in a thought-provoking picture book that features his typically elegant cut-paper collages. With a particular focus on the natural world and mankind’s impact on it, Jenkins lists diverse events that occur in the space of a second, a minute, an hour, and so on. In one week, a ladybug eats more than 500 aphids, while each month “The world’s human population increases by about 6,556,000 people. (11,616,000 are born and 5,060,000 die).” Jenkins also covers “very quick” and “very slow” amounts of time: a fast ball reaches home plate in “less than 4/10 of a second,” while in one billion years, “Earth will be too hot to support life.” Back matter offers information about life spans, population growth, and Earth’s history. 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. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)