The Little Things in Life

Maybe you thought this would be about watching a beautiful sunset, sipping hot chocolate on a cold day, or any number of other “little things” we enjoy in life. Actually, I am being literal in this entry…here are a couple of new books that deal with the concept of “small”.

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton (ill.). 9780763673154. August 2014. Gr. K-3.

Tiny CreaturesTiny Creatures: The World of Microbes deals with the very small. It is difficult for anyone to understand just how small some of these creatures are, but the text and illustrations do a wonderful job of conveying this to children. For example, one page states that a “teaspoon of soil can have as many as a billion microbes. That’s about the same as the number of people in the whole of India.” The colorful illustration shows a scene of a crowd of brightly dressed natives of India, juxtaposed with a heaping spoon, presumably full of microbes. While it is impossible to draw a spoon with a billion microbes in it, this is effective in conveying a sense of scale, as other pages in the book also do.

There is a wealth of scientific information packed into this book. Although the book touches upon the fact that microbes can make you sick, the beneficial side of microbes is stressed more, which is good since (as the book points out) we have more microbes that live on our skin then the total number of people on Earth!

This book would fit nicely in a science curriculum, and it reminded me of the excellent online tool, The Scale of the Universe, where you can zoom from the smallest items in the universe to the biggest; yet another great tool for understanding scale. Fascinating!

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (ill.). 9781477847725. August 2014. Gr. 1-3.

You Are Not SmallKeeping with the theme, the book You Are (Not) Small deals with how size is relative, and a matter of perspective. Two bear-like creatures meet, and they are similar in many ways, but obviously different in size. One notes that the other is big, and the other points a finger and counters that he is small. This sets off an escalating argument about who is correct in their observation. The argument comes to an abrupt end with a big (literally!) surprise, and the creatures come to a mutual understanding.

This is a great title for youngsters. The text is minimal, so beginning readers can handle it, and the message is a good one. If you have ever been out in public with a child that loudly points out some physical difference in a stranger, you know that children notice differences. You Are (Not) Small is a great title that can help introduce concepts of tolerance and acceptance, helping children understand that everyone is different, and difference is normal.

Ryan Blogger: Ryan H.