The Time Book: A Brief History from Lunar Calendars to Atomic Clocks

Overview

It’s about time! A fascinating primer explores what it means and how it has been measured, from the waggles of a honeybee to the workings of an atomic clock.

What is time? Why does it fl y when we’re having fun? When did we start keeping track of it — and why do we measure it in such bizarre ways? Explore these and many other timely questions, such as how the first calendars and clocks were invented, why February is such an odd month, and what strange and wonderful things ...

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Overview

It’s about time! A fascinating primer explores what it means and how it has been measured, from the waggles of a honeybee to the workings of an atomic clock.

What is time? Why does it fl y when we’re having fun? When did we start keeping track of it — and why do we measure it in such bizarre ways? Explore these and many other timely questions, such as how the first calendars and clocks were invented, why February is such an odd month, and what strange and wonderful things Einstein discovered about the nature of time itself. Martin Jenkins’s clear, conversational narrative on the history of timekeeping combines with Richard Holland’s quirky mixed-media collages for a compelling look at that mysterious thing we call time.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
Although all living things respond to the passage of time, only humans are interested in keeping track of time and to this end have invented numerous calendars and many types of clocks. Although animals and plants keep a daily clock, called a circadian rhythm, measuring units of time is a peculiarly human endeavor. It has taken centuries to perfect a mechanism that accurately measures minutes, hours, days, months and years. Today we not only can keep time very accurately, we have a single system used by the entire world. This book's illustrations and photo-collage depictions of the concepts associated with time are entertaining and imaginative and add significantly to the information presented. At the end of the book is an index of important terms. This book would be a good resource in a middle school or even high school library or science classroom. Reviewer: Hazel Buys
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Conversational text, whimsical mixed-media artwork, and elegant book design combine to present an informative and entertaining romp through time. Succinct chapters treat a broad spectrum of subjects, beginning with the age-old human interest in measuring time, timekeeping in nature (from periodical cicadas to circadian rhythms), speculation about why early humans quantified regular changes in the world around them (Jenkins does a good job of explaining "why calendars and religion are almost always closely linked"), and the challenges of basing a calendar on astronomical observations. The story continues with descriptions of ancient calendars, the development of the Gregorian calendar, and the evolution of timekeeping devices. The final chapter briefly explains Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and introduces the possibility (and resulting chronological oddities) of traveling "at nearly the speed of light." Quite a lot of territory is covered here, but the clear, lively writing will keep readers focused, and the broad approach presents an interesting overview and invites youngsters to explore topics in further detail. Holland's precise-looking collages blend images of clocks, cultural sites, important locales, historical figures, and more to support the narrative while imaginatively interpreting the concepts and adding touches of humor. The fun continues in the layout, as the text is often shaped (like a pyramid or a planet) to echo the illustrations. Kids will find time flying as they pore over this book.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Taking an amiable ramble through the story of how we have created measures for time, Jenkins steps out with random notes on animal migration and other signs of biological clocks, saunters past the invention of weeks, months, hours, minutes and mechanical clocks and fetches up at last with a brush past relativistic effects. Holland joins in on the stroll with decorative, if not particularly informative, collages constructed from Victorian clip art, digitally processed photo fragments and jumbles of numbers. "Casual" is the watchword, as the author goes from leaving the impression that Saturn was an Assyrian god to noting that John Harrison's nautical clock was invaluable for navigation but never explaining just how. The random assortment of facts may spark a mild interest in the topic, but it all reads like a middlebrow magazine article and is certainly no substitute for the more conscientious likes of Bruce Koscielniak's About Time (2004) or Joan Dash's Longitude Prize (2000). (Nonfiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763641122
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NC1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Jenkins has written several nonfiction books for children, including THE EMPEROR'S EGG and APE. He lives in Cambridge, England

Richard Holland is the illustrator of THE MUSEUM BOOK by Jan Mark. He lives in Essex, England.

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