Great Estimations


The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice
Showing kids what big numbers really mean and how to use them well requires some mathematical subtlety. Great Estimations is a model of how to do it right….With its cleanly arranged, stark-against-white photographs, Great Estimations is interactive in the old-fashioned way. It invites kids to do what they do best with picture books: stare at the pictures, enter them in their mind’s eye, and get something done while they’re in there.


School Library Journal
Goldstone adds another winner to the growing canon of titles that make learning math concepts both fun and interesting….This well-designed book will add zing to many a math lesson and attract browsers as well.


Kirkus Reviews
A must-have resource for school libraries.

Click here to read full reviews

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About the Book

I’ve been estimating things since I was a kid. Sometimes before a taking a trip, I would look at a tree in our yard. Then throughout the trip, I would try to estimate about how many leaves were on the tree. Of course, I could never find out the exact answer, but it gave me something think about during a long car trip. I would think of the tree (which probably helped me from feeling homesick, too) and adjust my estimate over and over again. I hope that my readers have fun looking at the pictures in these books and become more comfortable playing with big numbers.


Making this book was a real treat for me because I got to put the photos together. Well, most of them. Some of the photos, like the bunnies and the penguins, I bought from a photo service. But I arranged the photos of objects like cereal, cherries (they’re plastic!), and rubber cockroaches. Depending on the photo, I usually spent between one and four hours crawling around on the floor in the studio, setting things up. Then the photographers, Arnold Katz and his son Dave, lit the set-up and snapped a very high resolution digital photo.


I still love estimating, and hope that I’ve convinced at least a few readers that big numbers aren’t scary. I’m not a math whiz—I just think that numbers are as much fun to play with as words, bouncy balls, or rubber roaches.


Speaking of bouncy balls, not all of my great ideas work out. We spent a full day in the studio throwing around hundreds of rubber balls to try to get an exciting, dynamic image for this book. But no matter how many shots we tried, we couldn’t capture the fun of bouncing a ball. We tried freezing the balls mid-air with a super-fast shutter speed and we tried letting the shutter stay open to let the balls blur so we could get a sense of motion. But none of the photos satisfied me in the end, so the balls didn’t make it into the book. I’m only sorry that we didn’t take a bit of video of the cool ball-dropping machine that David Katz helped to design. Ah, well…

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