Thursday, January 8, 2015

STEM Friday: Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
written by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton
2014 (Candlewick Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library

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. 

Here's why I really admire this book. The subject of microbes is not something that is easily explained to elementary-age students, yet is incredibly important in their daily lives. Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton are able to teach young readers what microbes do and why they are important. In one spread, they show how things decompose because of microbes. There is an illustration of food and a compost pile with an arrow in between. Below is a group of milk bottles and a tub of yogurt. On the opposite page is a pile of rocks on top of soil with worms wriggling beneath. The point made is that microbes break down and transform things. Another section of the book shows how microbes (germs) make you sick. Davies writes just enough text to explain how the germs can get inside you and multiply, but she doesn't over explain. It's what I would call a Goldilocks text: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. And this is a mighty fine porridge of nonfiction text and illustrations. One of the beauties of this book is that everyone can make a connection with it. We've all been sick and come equipped with fun stories of projectile vomit and blob like snot coming out of our noses. After reading Tiny Creatures, students will better understand perhaps the most important of all living things.

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