The Children’s Book Review | February 20, 2019
Written by Idan Ben-Barak
Illustrated by Julian Frost
Age Range: 3-7
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2018)
What to Expect: Science and Interactivity
Microbes are a hot topic right now – we love them in foods like kimchee and kombucha, we read about them in the work of writers like Michael Pollan, and we get excited about the benefits they offer to fields such as medical bio-engineering and environmental conservation (mycorrhizal symbiosis, anyone?). With that in mind, it was both fun and exciting to find a children’s book dealing with this very same topic.
Do Not Lick This Book takes children on a journey into the microscopic world inhabited by microbes, to explore what they do and how they do it. The story follows the adventures of a microbe named “min” and a few friends she picks up along the way, as they travel from the pages of the books to a variety of different surfaces – a tooth, a shirt, human skin. As this list suggests, the book has a not-so-hidden agenda: these microbes, as we find out on the final page, are harmful and can make a person sick. The wonderful, full-colour scanning electron microscope images are not only educational, but also reinforce this message: they show the hidden nooks and crannies invisible to the naked eye, which make these surfaces so attractive to microbes. The interactive feature of the volume – the child is invited to touch the page and pick Min up, and move her physically to his/her teeth, shirt, belly-button and so on – has an important yuck-factor: children are encouraged to think about the role that touching plays in spreading microbes around. This volume is fun and educational – a real treat.
About the Author
Idan Ben-Barak has written several books so far; they’ve been translated into over a dozen languages and won a couple of awards. He lives in a smallish apartment in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and their two boys. Sometimes, after they go to bed, he grabs the guitar and makes up harmless little tunes. He has degrees in microbiology and in the history and philosophy of science, a diploma in library studies, and a day job that has very little to do with any of the above. You can find Idan on Facebook (too often for his own good), Instagram (occasionally) and Twitter (rarely). When he has anything to say about writing he says it on his blog.
About the Illustrator
Julian Frost is an internationally renowned illustrator, designer, director, and animator. He received worldwide acclaim for his animation ‘Dumb Ways to Die,’ created for the Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia to promote rail safety. Winner of the Cannes Lion Grand Prixs, which had close to 150 million views on YouTube since 2012.
Do Not Lick This Book, written by Idan Ben-Barak and illustrated by Julian Frost, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Do Not Lick This Book by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Non-Fiction, Picture Book, and Science.
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