Tiny by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton: an interesting, creative introduction to the invisible world of microbes

Nicola Davies, Tiny. The Invisible World of Microbes. Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Published 2014 by Walker Books, 40p


Nicola Davies’s book, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton introduces children to the fascinating world of microbes. Having no doubt that the young readers already know a lot about big animals and tiny creatures, Nicola Davies complements their knowledge by inviting them to explore the world of micro-organisms, ingeniously combining scientific facts with great narrative skills.

Copyright: Emily Sutton

Do you know that there are creatures so tiny that millions could fit on this ant’s antenna? So tiny that we’d have to make the ant’s antenna as big as a whale to show them to you?

Copyright: Emily Sutton
Copyright: Emily Sutton

Despite the fact that they are invisible, microbes are everywhere – in the sea, on land, in the soil, in the air, and even on our skin or inside our body. They reproduce extremely fast, doubling their number every twenty minutes.

Right now there are more microbes living on your skin than there are people on Earth, and there are ten or even a hundred times as many as that in your tummy. (Don’t worry, although microbes sometimes make you sick, the ones that live in you and on you all the time help to keep you well).

Preoccupied to keep the little ones healthy we always tell them about germs, forgetting to mention in our attempts to widen their scientific horizons that microbes have other contributions too. Tiny reminds readers that microbes turn our food into compost, the milk into yogurt, the rocks into soil and that

They can wear down mountains and build up cliffs. They can stain the sea red, turn the sky cloudy, and make snowflakes grow. They recycle everything that dies to make soil so new life can sprout, and they help to make our air good to breathe… They are the invisible transformers of our world. The tiniest lives doing the biggest jobs.

Copyright: Emily Sutton

I have no doubt that Emily Sutton’s friendly illustrations will fascinate the young readers and contribute to drawing their attention to the captivating world of these magical, invisible organisms.

Complement Tiny with Elin Kelsey’s you Are Stardust, a poetic picture book that explores the connections we have with our planet and Jenni Desmond’s The Blue Whale, a meditative non-fiction book that celebrates the largest living creature on our planet.


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