cover image Ten Times Better

Ten Times Better

Richard Michelson. Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, $17.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7614-5070-2

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.)