Reviewed by Jo Bowers
Unseen Worlds: Real Life Microscopic Creatures Hiding All Around Us
I love that the first sentence in this book tells you to always have a magnifying glass with you to encourage children to become investigators to find out more about the unseen world. It also sets out to show how vital all microscopic beings are for life on Earth. How, without some, we would not have soil; how some help to recycle our waste and how many help to maintain the natural balance of the planet. And these are just some of the reasons why we need what we often see as quite disgusting living organisms as vital to our world.
This is one of those books that tap into children’s natural curiosity and passion for unusual, fascinating, weird and wonderful facts. It contains hundreds of facts about the unseen creatures everywhere: in the kitchen cupboard; on the ocean floor; forest floors; in your bed and even on you! This book is jam-packed with facts.
However, what I also like about Unseen Worlds is that the style of lyrical chapter introductions: ‘copepods and ostracods…whirl and twirl’; ‘spiny silhouettes of loriciferans haunt the shadowy waters’; ravenous nematodes wriggle and squirm are just some examples. This then follows through with detailed facts about each organism, so it is a good balance of different kinds of prose to maintain interest.
What makes this nonfiction picturebook more than just a book full of fascinating facts are the beautiful, detailed illustrations, that are to scale and clearly labelled. I also have to say that any book that credits the scientific consultants is a huge plus and deserve to be credited here too: Scientific consultants: Cédric Hubas and Christine Rollard at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris