Invisible to the human eye, some of the tiniest creatures are known do some of the biggest jobs on Earth.
Davies, who surveyed Extreme Animals (illustrated by Neal Layton, 2006) and encouraged readers to look Outside Your Window (illustrated by Mark Hearld, 2012), here presents examples of microbial life and the work that microbes do. This experienced science communicator makes an immediate connection to her readers, using their prior knowledge of big whales and small ants to convey how tiny microbes can be. She gives examples of their sizes and numbers, their varied shapes, their habitats, appetites and how they eat. Microorganisms slowly change food into compost, milk into yogurt and rocks into soil. They reproduce by dividing, and they’re very good at it. Luckily, only a few can make us sick; most are busily engaged in other vital tasks. They are “the invisible transformers of our world.” Sutton’s watercolor illustrations support and enhance the text. Thoughtful book design adds to the appeal, with generous white space, illustrative vignettes as well as paintings that fill a page or a spread, and an unusually legible type. This will show well when read aloud and intrigue emergent readers.
Very little information is available for this age group about these microscopic creatures, making this an especially welcome introduction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)