How Big Is Big 0761316647, 9780761316640

Poetry and facts offer a look at the relativity of measurement terms, such as big and small, fast and slow, deep and hig

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 0761316647, 9780761316640

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For my children

-s.s. To Mom and Cookie -F.4. Text copyright 01999 by Stephen Strauss Illustrations copyright 01999 by Eugenie,€.>my,Kim, and Matthew Fernandes All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means-graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems-without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Strauss, Stephen, 1943How big is big? / by Stephen Strauss; illustrated by the Fernandes Four. p. cm. Summary: Poetry and facts offer a look a t the relativity of measurevent terms, such as big and small, fast and slow,deep and high. lSBN 0-7613-1664-7(lib.bdg.) 1.Size perception-Juvenile literature. 2. Sizejudgment-Juvenile literature. [l.Measurement.] I. Fernandes Four. 1I.Title. BF299.SSS75 1999 153.7'52-dc21 99-14774CIP

Published in the United States by The Millbrook Press, Inc. 2 Old New Milford Road Brookfield,Connecticut 06804 Visit us a t our Web site - http://www.millbrookpress.com Simultaneously published in Canada 1999 by Key Porter Books All rights reserved

Printed in Italy Cover design by Kathryn Moore 54321

A

Yo~J-big is big? A super fat pig? A giant tomato? A skyscraper potato?

No,bigness is something no one can Consume, L i k e hot^- many oceans Fit into the moon.

MOW S M A L L I5 S M A L L ? yot~small is small? 1.

r r -

Something minusfeet tall? The point of a pencil? The line on a stencil? PO,smallness is something that’s quite hard t o See, Like the fluff i n the a i r And the dust on your chair.

?++I s l o is ~ slw?

AS +Ie all kn0+1, A snail i n a hurry Vill never scurry, But glide at the pace Of a drop of molasses That drips off your face.

YOUfast is fast? I’m glad that you asked.

GaIk on Gater, You oughta oughta Use all 0’ your might, And double the speed Of a motorbike. To

Y0.r high is high? VeU, h0.r high is the sky? 1’11say i t out loud: It’s higher than a cloud, It’stShere the air plays peek-a-boo, Changing nighttime’s black T o daytime’s blue.

YO~J.deep is deep?

No,I don’t mean deep sleep, And I don‘t mean a d l , o r a deep prison cell; But rather imagine the fishies’ commotion If a kid ever ualked On the bottom of the ocean.

ROW

timr

IS

timr?

Y o t ~light

is light? VeU, there’s light a kite... And do you k n w t~hether That’s ten times a feather? But, 04-1 think there‘s been some mistake! for both tJeighmuch more Than a single snOtJflake.

?+G

heavy is heavy?

Asked a boy named Levy, Wp decided t o buy a dinosaur, But couldn’t carry i t out of the store. S o he left instead 4 t h a lovely toy lion, VhoSe Qeight,4 i 1 e great, ye could lift uitbut try’n.

H O W WIPG WOW W I V E I5 I5 W W II P PE E ?? &clr

clride is clride?

Vell, there’s clride as outside, And there’s clride as a smile, And there’s clride the Nile, clrider by far-sort of clridenas terrificLs the clridth of that ocean They call the Pacific.

stretchy is stretchy? It may seem far-fetchy, But spiders, quite scary, And Sometimes quite hairy, Make stuff so fantastic, It’s totally, totally, TOTALLY,elastic. Yo.2

HOW

OLD 15 OLD?

old is old? I have been told That turtles live long And trees linger on, But if true oldness you Gant to convey, Then try dishing an amoeba A happy birthday. Yod

k J w strong is strong? Consider King Kong, The movie gorilla, V b s e death *as a thrilla

Bat

even

old Song

momtrody feeble Vhen compared T o the mighty rhinoceros beetle.

long is long? You’ll be long gone Once the sun

Ceases to run, And the only light IS endless, endless, Starry night.

H O W RRIEF

I5 sRIEF? brief is brief? Vell, it’smy belief That hen you blink, O r slyly wink, The time that passes 1s much, much more Than lightning flashes. &G

wow

5RA.KY I5 5tt4KY7 shaky G is shaky? Something kinda earthpaky? Ifa mountain of Pekingese, Those dogs love to tea% ~

O

Vere t o jump from a ladder,

They’d make The ground clatter.

MOW FULL FULL I5 I5 FULL? FULL? HOW full is full? Hot a belly full of dool, Pot a mountain of hayf Hot Santa’s toy sleigh. s o f fullness is more like that quenching E . thirsting Which comes to a camel W p s e drank till she’s bursting! ++J

ttow ttor

take off my s h o e s And go f o r a stroll On a flaming bed Of burning hot coal. TO

nl

L

NOGthis poem’s a treat.

4

Though sugar is dandy, And i t rhymes Gith candy, Little can give such a sGeetening rush, As the leaves of a green South American bash.

L

1

I

A HOW M A N Y 15 M A N Y ?

Y w many is many? Tm dimes o r ten pennies? All grapes i n a bunch? Forty crackers f o r lunch? No,many is something beyond stacks and stacks, I t s h o much ~ the earth Geighs In piles of Big Macs.

e

t-tOW C H E W Y

YOG che*Jyis cheGy? Vhat makes gum so gooey? Each time you bite, As hard as you might, The force is SO dpppingThink karate chop, chop, And then keep on chopping.

H O W HARD 15 HARD? ?+whard

is hard?

Vho keeps the scorecard? It’s not baby pwder, Nor soupy clam chwder; ~ t l snot an eggshell, a penny, o r brass, But a diamond so hard, slices through glass.

WOW T W I N I5 T W I N ?

Y ~ Gthin is this? ve11, there’s thin a s a pin. Then there’s thin a s a d i v e r (Ouch! sharp things make me quiver). But thinness is something t o measure Gith care; It‘s a slice, of a slice, OE a slice, oE a hair.

That pestion’s a trick! Thickness is thinness, just turned on its head, And one is the other, so don’t be misled. I ask you to take ten heads full of hair, d u e one to anotherAnd see thickness right there.

YO+Jbright bright is isbright? bright? You Imagine the the sight sight Imagine Vhes the s s w has snwed, And the sun has glwed, And a little kid sits

counting 16,000 Candlest i c b .

b dark is dark? Them's as dark as a park In the middle of the night, W h no moon in sight, And a fog billwing billoa. 1 guarantee You ~ o n ’spy t armadillos.

HOW LOUD L O U D I5 I5 LOUD? LOUD? ROW loud is loud? The scream Of a croclrd? The snap of your gum? The bang of a drum? g o , loud is every hurtful noise &M

That pains the ears Of girls and boys.

H O W QUIET I5 QUIET? quiet is quiet? Not a schoolyard riot, g o t a loud snore, And not a dance floor. N o l p i e t is something you almost can’t hear, L i k e the sound that your hair Keeps aQay from your ear.