cover image Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes

Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes

Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by James Ransome. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7915-9

Narrated by a bacterium—“Let me introduce myself. I was born Salmonella (but only my mom calls me that). My friends call me Sam”—this picture book by the Ransomes (Just a Lucky So and So) offers a light and lively education in the world of microorganisms. Mustachioed or overalls wearing, football watching or bespectacled, the many-hued, anthropomorphized germs that populate the book can often look downright friendly. Sam’s commentary includes a brief description of microbes, passing mentions of scientists who revolutionized their study (namely Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Louis Pasteur), a short list of the diseases they can cause, and the benefits of “good germs.” The conversational tone and cartoon-styled, mixed-media illustrations never let things get too weighty. “Antibacterial this and antibacterial that, and even face masks? Just surviving the day has become a full-time job!” notes Sam as gas-mask-toting germs peer warily into a well-stocked cabinet of cleaning supplies. A glossary and an afterword that touches on antibacterial resistance and the importance of hand-washing wraps up this accessible and none-too-scary primer. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)