STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Animals by the Numbers

animals-by-the-numbersAnimals by the Numbers: a book of animal infographics

by Steve Jenkins

48 pages; ages 6-9

HMH, 2016

How much do all the humans on earth weigh? Without adding up everyone’s weight, we have to make an estimate, and that comes to around 350 million tons. That’s a lot, right?

So how much would all the insects on earth weigh? Best estimate of that comes to 100 billion tons – about 15 tons for every person on earth. To help put these huge numbers into context, Steve Jenkins creates infographics – charts, tables, diagrams, and graphs that illustrate information.

He uses bar graphs to compare how fast animals swim, fly, and run and how far animals jump. There are pie charts and “thermometer” graphs, maps and a very cool decision tree illustrating the sorts of things that might run through a small animal’s mind when another creature approaches: does it look dangerous? Does it see me?

What I like about this book: it presents facts about animals in a fun way. Sure, you could read a page telling how fast different animals run, but a chart comparing those speeds makes you think about information in a different way. The way he presents the information is as fun as the questions he explores: how fast do critters have to flap their wings to stay airborne? How many hours a day do animals sleep compared to their waking time?

And, for us writers, Jenkins includes a pie chart showing how he spent his time making the book (5% spent staring into space).  Review copy provided by the publisher.

STEM Friday

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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