Methodical young scientists will see themselves in the “Father of Microbiology.”

ALL IN A DROP

HOW ANTONY VAN LEEUWENHOEK DISCOVERED AN INVISIBLE WORLD

In the latter half of the 17th century, Antony van Leeuwenhoek devised his first microscope by cleverly grinding a bit of glass into a near-spherical shape and mounting it into his own custom-made frame.

It would change his world. By grinding his lenses nearly round, he stumbled upon the secret to creating a substantially more powerful microscope than the few then currently in use. With his ability to take a clear look into the microscopic world, he became the first to identify microbes, organisms far too small to be viewed with the naked eye. Although other scientists initially rejected the concept—and he was unwilling to share his microscope design to help them make their own discoveries—an English scientist was later able to replicate his work using his less-sophisticated microscope. Still, Antony’s groundbreaking studies seemed to spark little enthusiasm in others for further research. It would be well over 100 years later that Louis Pasteur finally realized that some microbes caused disease. As Alexander describes him, “Antony watches patiently, thinks deeply, and reports carefully.” By breaking his work down into simple, understandable steps and incorporating Mildenberger’s delicately childlike cartoon illustrations to complement the present-tense narration, this effort makes Antony’s life’s work accessible to a young audience that is sure to be intrigued and inspired. Excellent backmatter rounds out this fascinating tale.

Methodical young scientists will see themselves in the “Father of Microbiology.” (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-88420-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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