JUST A SECOND- Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a Colorado author and illustrator. It only makes sense, then, that I would be a charter member of the Steve Jenkins' fan club. As I have said before, I think Jenkins, (sometimes in cahoots with wife Robin Page), writes some of the most interesting and visually attractive nonfiction out there for elementary and yeah, even middle and high school kids. In the past couple of years, I've reviewed lots of Jenkins' masterpieces: Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Ocean, Bones and Never Smile at a Monkey, and How to Clean a Hippopotamus.

Jenkins' newest book, JUST A SECOND, came out in November. And it's definitely one of my favorites. JUST A SECOND looks at time, but it looks at time in a really unique way. Each two-page spread features 5-7 of Jenkins' classic collage-type illustrations about a certain period of time, all the way from a second to a week. On one of the "one second" spreads, for example, I learned, among other things, that a vulture in flight flaps its wings once, a hummingbird beats its wings 50 times, a bumblebee 200 times, and a midge (a kind of gnat) 1000. There are also pages for "Very Quick" and "Very Long." Many of the pages feature a fact about human population or use of the Earth's resources.

The last few pages in the book are also classic Jenkins- more information on the subject organized in an entirely different way, but also fascinating in their own right. There's a one-page spiral-shaped history of the universe, a bar graph of the Earth's Human Population (with different continents done in different colors), and a two page spread about the lifespans of different plants and animals. Oh, and then there's a history of time and timekeeping.

This one is a winner. So-far it's my nominee for CYBILS nonfiction picture book of 2012.

Here's a link to a New York Times review.