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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $18.00 ages 6 and up

"And a teaspoon of soil can have as many as a billion microbes. That's about the same as the number of people in the whole of India. Microbes live everywhere - in the sea, on land, in the soil, and in the air. They live in places where nothing else does, like in volcanoes, or inside rocks, or at the back of your fridge."

In a book meant to help young children understand just how tiny a microbe is, and what it is, Nicola Davies uses all of her incredible talent to bring that world to her readers. Her size comparisons even helped me to put it all in perspective. Each is a pretty amazing creature!

"Right now there are more microbes living on your skin than there are people on Earth, and there are ten or even a hundred times as many as that in your stomach."


"(Don't worry! Although some microbes make you sick, the ones that live in you and on you all the time help to keep you well.)"

OK...that's encouraging, right? They may be small, but they have a huge impact in our world. We need to know about them so that we can be thankful for all that they do for us. As you may know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I do not consider myself scientific in any way. I believe that my brain goes sideways whenever talk turns to science. In books like these, I begin to think that even I can learn scientific material without overextending my brain. Thanks to such informative text, and to a writer who knows how to share it with her audience, I have a sense of the immensity of the job these microbes do and a better understanding of what they are!

Emily Sutton's winning illustrations perfectly complement Ms. Davies' words. I love the way she shows how the E. coli microbe reproduces so quickly, giving children a real sense of that growth over a twelve-hour period. Astounding! The book's design is very appealing and is sure to garner second looks.

They may be invisible to the human eye, but there is no doubt that they have a tremendous impact. This book is sure to be useful when trying to help young readers understand germs, fermentation and composting for enhanced garden growth. It is not a subject often discussed with this age group. Now, teachers and parents have help in bringing it to a child's attention. Well done!

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