‘All over the Earth, all the time, tiny microbes are eating and eating, and splitting and splitting, changing one thing into another’.
This is a star book for young children! There are lots of fine books about animals, but they are mostly about big or quite big creatures. Nicola Davies’ large, exciting picturebook explores and explains the life and purposes of the very tiniest of living things – microbes. The science of micro-organisms is complex but this author manages to use language and examples to help the very young begin to understand something about the nature of microbes and their different functions. To give some idea of size, children are told that millions could fit on the miniscule antenna of an ant. They may not be able to imagine a million yet but they will know it is a lot! Emily Sutton’s arresting and interesting illustrations work perfectly with the text, bringing things to a practical level children can understand. For example, the down to earth pictures that fill one double spread show how microbes can bring about change – milk to yoghurt and rocks into soil. Davies includes a detail that will fascinate: microbes are too small to have mouths and so they soak up the food they need through their skin. Of course some of the concepts are difficult. But reading or looking through this book will create a space in a child’s mind for adding to knowledge and understanding as they grow older and learn more. Many under fives will enjoy sharing this book with an adult; I think it will also be a fine addition to the classroom bookshelf for children a year or two older.