GERMS by Lesa Cline-Ransome


Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes
Age Range: 4 - 7
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Colorful bacteria cavort among people of various races in this simple introduction to germs.

Anthropomorphic bacteria, yeasts, molds, fungi, and viruses are depicted wearing clothes, marching in armies, climbing ladders to play on a giant fingernail, and ebulliently gathering to watch football on television. Other pages include illustrations of much more realistic-looking germs. Text, occasionally swirling across the pages, complements the playful illustrations to provide information in clear, child-friendly language. (Unfortunately, the explanation for “that funny sound you sometimes hear in your belly when you’re hungry?…it’s us germs breaking down the food!” is inaccurate; these sounds are caused by peristaltic movement of partially digested food.) Helpfully, the book also draws attention to useful microorganisms as well as the disease-causing varieties and offers very introductory information on some early scientific discoveries, mentioning microscope inventor Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the work of Louis Pasteur. Soft, attractive pencil, watercolor, and mixed-media illustrations match well with the text, and their energy enhances the presentation. A useful, rather detailed glossary and a short essay on the value of hand-washing follow, although some listeners may wonder why anyone would want to wash away such cute little critters. That is better explained by Nicola Davies’ Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, illustrated by Emily Sutton (2014).

An amusing more than informative overview of germs for an audience that may find the whole business mildly bemusing. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7915-9
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2016


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