My View Book Review: Microbes by Amy Gallagher

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Title: Microbes

Author/Illustrator: Amy Gallagher

Publisher/Year: ThunderStone Books/2017

Back Cover Blurb: Microbes are incredibly tiny organisms; they are so small that millions of them can fit on the head of a pin! These cells, though invisible to the naked eye, are vital to the human race and ecosystem.


Microbes is a nonfiction picture book that introduces kids to six types of microbes: bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa. Each microbe is discussed in its own chapter. Information and facts are presented in a simple, straight-forward manner. Colorful microbial characters accompany the text and liven up the pages. A Terminology section in the back offers expanded definitions of scientific terms featured in the book.

Microbes is, effectively, a mini Microbiology lesson for older kids–ages 8-12–and even curious adults who’d like to learn more about the microscopic creatures that share our world. The book certainly takes a heavy subject and makes is accessible to kids and to those of us who may be completely clueless, like me.

Did you know that microbes exist everywhere, even in our own bodies?

Did you know that bacteria can survive in a variety of habitats, even the arctic?

Did you know that some algae can be found on the hair of sloths and polar bears?

Did you know that protozoa hunt and gather other microbes as food?

Those are just a few of the interesting facts I learned.

I have to admit, microbes are a fascinating topic. If you have a child at home who loves science, this book is for them. Or maybe this book is for you, if you want to find out why algae is green, why yeast makes dough rise, or why white blood cells are important. If none of that interests you, then pick the book up for the illustrations. Who knew microbes could look so cute?

Plant a Pocket of Prairie

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Title: Plant a Pocket of Prairie

Author: Phyllis Root

Illustrator: Betsy Bowen

Publisher/Year: University of Minnesota Press/2014

 

Hurrah for nonfiction picture books! If authors and illustrators of nonfiction picture books accomplish their goals to create top-notch books on subjects they are passionate about, then children will learn about captivating people, places, and things in a fun and engaging way. Nonfiction picture books must, just like fictional stories, grab and keep the attention of young readers. Often this is done through story-like text and eye-catching illustrations.

In Plant a Pocket of Prairie, author Phyllis Root and illustrator Betsy Bowen introduce us to an endangered ecosystem, the native prairie of the United States, and many of the plants and animals that can be found there. Through sparse, flowing text that connects each page to the next and large, beautiful pictures, Root and Bowen succeed in capturing prairie life and conveying to readers the importance of not only cherishing it but helping it continue on. Plant a Pocket of Prairie is a fascinating look at native species that may be in our own backyards and yet we take them for granted.

Did you know that native prairie once covered almost forty percent of the U.S.? But now less than one percent remains! Due to the encroachment of people (farming, grazing, building, etc.), prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. And unfortunately, as it says in the back of the book, “We can’t bring back the prairie as it once was.” But there is hope for at least some of the native prairie plants and animals. All you have to do is “plant a pocket of prairie”.

Planting prairie plants and attracting prairie animals, especially various species of birds and butterflies, as suggested by this book, would be a perfect outdoor project for parents or teachers to work on with their kids or students.