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Book Reviews

Just a Minute! Adventure in Time

by Jeff Szpirglas; Stephen MacEachern, illus.

Young people often have difficulty thinking about time in the relative sense. Just how long is a minute, or a week, or a month, anyway? In Just a Minute!, Toronto science writer and schoolteacher Jeff Szpirglas tries to clear up some of that confusion.

The book follows the exploits of David, a 5-million-minute-old kid (that’s a 10-year-old by the traditional measure), through a day packed with adventures at home, on a movie set, and at the zoo. Along the way, Szpirglas uses the people, things, and animals David encounters as ways of explaining just how long things take. The key here lies in relating time to everyday events, and Just a Minute is packed with examples that young readers will understand and enjoy. (For example, it takes about a minute for the average toilet to flush and refill.)

Szpirglas’s time-based story and the accompanying anecdotes are nicely complemented by Stephen MacEachern’s cartoony illustrations, and while some readers might find the two-page spreads a tad busy – with four to seven fact boxes on each – there is at least no shortage of information. As well, there’s a handy section on time-recording devices through the ages to put things in historical perspective.