Bug-Sized Book

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Bug-Sized Book

November 11, 2018

There’s something nice about turning the pages of a fresh new book full of pictures. Well, that all feels a little different when the book is barely 1/8 of an inch wide! A couple of years ago, librarians found one of the world’s teeniest books hidden in a college library. As you can see in the photo, it’s about the size of a ladybug. The words are so tiny that you need a magnifying glass to read them. This book happens to be a chapter from the Bible, but the same library has 4,000 other mini-books, too. If you want to stop by for an hour of two of reading, you’d better bring extra-strong glasses.

Wee ones: Look at a book in your room. What shape is the cover?

Little kids: If you put a mini-book on the tip of each of your fingers but not your thumbs, how many mini-books are you holding?  Bonus: If instead you fit 10 mini-books in each of your 2 pockets and another 10 under your hat, now how many books are you carrying?

Big kids: If you’re taking 100 mini-books off the shelf and can grab 10 at a time, how many handfuls does it take to grab them all?  Bonus: The teeny book has a “big sister” book, an exact copy that is 1 and 3/8 inches wide. How many teeny books could fit across the big sister book, if the little one is 1/8 inch wide? (Hint if needed: How many of the 1/8-inch books can fit across just 1 inch?)











Wee ones: Most books have a rectangle cover, or if all 4 sides are the same length, it’s square.

Little kids: 8 mini-books.  Bonus: 30 mini-books.

Big kids: 10 handfuls.  Bonus: 11 of them. You can fit 8 of them across that first inch, and then another 3 across the 3/8 inch left.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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