<p>"If one million kids climbed onto one another's shoulders, they would be taller than the tallest buildings, higher than the highest mountains, and farther up than airplanes can fly."</p><p>Author Schwartz, along with illustrator Steven Kellogg, bends over backward to help young readers conceptualize — and more importantly visualize — how much a million actually is. He engages the help of Marvelosissimo the Magician. Marvelosissimo magically stands a million children on each other's shoulders. He waves his wand to create a goldfish bowl for a million goldfish — and large enough for a whale. He conjures 100,000 stars spanning seven pages of the book: now just take this seven-page journey ten times.</p><p>Readers will be awestruck as a million begins to make sense. Now how much is a billion? No question is too difficult for Marvelosissimo. Waving his magic wand, he stacks a billion kids into a human tower reaching past the moon. A goldfish bowl for a billion goldfish would be as big as a stadium. Even the concept of a trillion is grappled with here with breathtaking finesse.</p><p>An author's note at the book's conclusion clearly explains in detail the different calculations used to imaginatively illustrate each numerical concept. In the case of the goldfish, Schwartz writes, "As a general rule, an aquarium should hold one gallon of water for every one-inch goldfish. That means that a million goldfish would require a million gallons of water," and so on. Written in part to combat what Schwartz sees as an increasing problem in innumeracy, Schwartz has written an important, accessible book that is a must for every classroom.</p>
Author Schwartz, along with illustrator Steven Kellogg, bends over backward to help young readers conceptualize, and more importantly, visualize how much a million actually is. Introduce the book with these activities.