A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

illus. by Isabel Greenberg. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062455789.
RedReviewStarGr 2–4—Very likely breaking the record for the number of zeroes in a picture book, Fishman presents a tally of humongous figures—beginning with the estimated population of stars in the universe and going on to an "entire world" that is "filled with crazy numbers." The work focuses much more on how awesome and unimaginable these numbers are rather than explaining the intricacies of calculating them. No sources are provided for the totals and only at the end does Fishman admit that the strings of digits are at best ballpark estimates: "sort-of-definitely-ALMOST true." In addition, the author breaks the "-illions" down inconsistently without explaining until the endnote that terms like "billion trillion" and "sextillion" are equivalents. Greenberg places many of the strung-out sums against starry backdrops, with cartoon images of trees, animals, members of a diverse human cast, and other familiar forms, providing starting points for contemplating all those dizzying digits.
VERDICT An imagination stretcher for younger audiences who enjoy marveling at mind-bending numbers.

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