All manner of tiny living things are introduced in this generously sized French import.
Organized by habitat, each of 10 double-page spreads includes an extra foldout, on which is printed a clever heading and a lyrical introduction. The flap also holds an inset drawing that includes a magnified detail, which is further enlarged on the double-page spread. Here, detailed ink drawings filled with color allow readers to see the tiniest of creatures magnified by as many as 120 times. The conversational text beneath the foldout describes the numbered creatures in the art, offering facts and vocabulary words galore. Cross-referencing is used frequently; tardigrades, for example, appear in a patch of beach sand as well as a tuft of moss. Among the creepier illustrations is the 55x rendition of microscopic beasts in “The Miniature Jungle of Your Bed,” in which light-gray, louselike dust mites march across the enlarged, lavender fibers of a bedspread even as somewhat larger, different mites prey on them. A female of this latter mite carries a dozen babies on her back while several males busily inject into prey “fluid that paralyzes them and liquifies their insides.” An accessible preface and backmatter emphasize the importance of microbes and introduce both taxonomy and the history of microscopes. Ironically, some of the type could use magnification, which readers will need to provide. Quiet humor balances the ick factor.
Microbes rock! (glossary, index, selected sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)