A breezy text and comic illustrations introduce middle-grade readers to their microbiomes—the trillions of microbes that live in them and on them.
The author of A World in Your Lunch Box (illustrated by Sa Boothroyd, 2012) turns her attention to the world of our own human bodies, making the point that microbes, the tiniest of living things—bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, protists, and mites—are vitally important in our lives. Topic by topic, one per double-page spread, Eamer introduces these microscopic "hitchhikers," describes their discovery, our "war" against them, and our subsequent realization that the majority are harmless and even beneficial. She goes on to present both harmful and helpful unseen inhabitants of our skin, lungs, mouth, gut, and even poop. And she goes into a little more detail about the human fight against bad bacteria and how bacteria have fought back by evolving. A final chapter describes ways young readers can attract a variety of different microbes to their personal microbiomes and then care for them. Sidebars feature a cartoon bacterium with a fondness for punny jokes and a series of “Did You Know?” factoids (and one urban legend). The unsourced text is lighthearted but briskly informative, and it has a considerable “eeuww!” factor. The jazzy design and plentiful, brightly colored illustrations add appeal.
Solid information presented in a sprightly manner that’s sure to appeal. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)