Want to know more about the tiny (microscopic) critters in our world, the ones we swim with in the ocean or the ones hanging out on our skin, in our homes, and elsewhere? All without having to use a microscope—at least for the moment. After reading this book, I think some kids will be adding a microscope to their wish lists.
One of the beauties of Unseen Worlds is that it’s browsable, meaning you can choose to dip into its pages anywhere and read fascinating nuggets of information while admiring the art that goes with them. Put this book on your coffee table when the pandemic is over, and see where the conversation goes. Just don’t continue the discussion at the dinner table. Oh, and don’t read the bedroom spread before bedtime. Fair warning. But some kids might be so fascinated, they’ll want to bring this book to bed, anyway. You’ll know if you have that kid.
The critters are divided into geographic locations: the sea, the beach, the forest floor, moss, freshwater lakes and ponds, rivers—and then it invades your personal space—your kitchen, your bedroom, your skin! Here’s a look at the “Attack of the Skin Snackers.”
Ten spreads, each with a half-fold on the left page, presents detailed information about the larger illustration revealed by the fold. Note that the lower portion of the left page includes a helpful scale so that we know just how small these creatures are. The front side of the fold also provides a description of each ecosystem and the magnifying scale of the microscope being used to view them.
Now for a peak at your kitchen.
The last few pages of the book include a discussion of microscopes and their history, how microorganisms are classified, a glossary, an index, and selected sources with an authors’ note.
This is a fascinating and detailed introduction to a world largely hidden within plain sight. And it’s also a gorgeous work of art!
Collect tiny creatures from the outside world and look at them under a magnifying glass. Can you classify them according to the characteristics you see?
Need some help? Perhaps a smart-phone app will help you identify what you’ve found.
Watch this Youtube video: The Amazing Microscopic World
Title: Unseen Worlds: Real-life Microscopic Creatures Hiding All Around Us
Author/Illustrators: Hélène Rajcak & Damien Laverdunt
Publisher: What on Earth Books, UK, 2019 (First English edition)
Ages: Elementary School to adult
Themes: microscopic life, biology, ecosystems, STEM
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.