Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes by Nicola Davies

Published by Walker (ISBN: 978-1406341041)

Tiny living things are everywhere and they are busy doing lots of different things. Some make us ill; many help us. This fascinating book explores and explains how some of the smallest things on earth do some of the biggest jobs!

Supported by clear, colourful illustrations, the text in this book explains very complex ideas so that anyone can understand. There is a gentle pace to the book- each step is fully explained before moving on- which allows time for children to understand and wonder about each fact. The pictures are uncluttered and compliment rather than detract from the text. The tone of the writing is excellent- it is easily understood, but does not ‘dumb down’ for its readers. Although it is made clear that microbes can be harmful, this is handled in a calm, matter of fact manner and the positive, exciting role of microbes really comes across. 

The obvious use for this in class is to support teaching about micro-organisms. Although detailed study of this area has been moved from the KS2 curriculum, children are still expected to be able to describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals. This book would be a great help in supporting this and would, no doubt, inspire interest and the desire to discover more. 

Tiny could be used to support a gardening project, developing understanding of the role these organisms play in creating compost, developing soil and so on. When looking at keeping healthy, it would be very helpful for explaining the need for hygiene. 

This book is also very useful for looking at how to present information clearly and concisely and would make an excellent guided reading text. A fantastic book- every school should have a copy!