The Children’s Book Review | August 27, 2019
Written and Illustrated by S. Kitanovic, PhD
Age Range: 6+
Paperback: 38 pages
Publisher: diatoMedia LLC (April 3, 2019)
What to Expect: Creative Non-Fiction, Science, and Bacteria
The word bacteria often gets a bad rap and author S. Kitanovic, PhD, aims to dispel this belief in this fun easy reader in which science and storytelling come together.
After Esie (an E. coli bacterium) hears some human swimmers proclaim that the pond is full of nasty bacteria, she parts from her twin Es and embarks on a pursuit to discover if she is beneficial or harmful to people and the environment. She meets bacteria in the pond, the desert, the clouds, the ocean, the meadows, and inside of animals, before returning to the pond with her conclusion.
A purple band at the bottom of each page includes easily digestible factual information to expand upon or highlight any unusual or scientific words found in the story. Character names and their meanings are listed in the truly insightful glossary. For example: “Esie and Es are Escherichia coli, or E. coli. This bacterium usually lives in the guts of humans and animals, but can also be free-living (on its own in the outdoors). Though most kinds of E. coli are harmless (and even beneficial), some are dangerous and cause food poisoning in humans.”
The colorful pencil illustrations provide some visual clues to what bacteria look like out in the real world, however, to enable younger readers to more readily connect with the story, they are personified with faces and appear much larger than they really are. The author addresses this intelligently on the opening page: “Bacteria are much, much smaller than shown in this story. If packed side by side, about 500,000 bacteria would cover the period at the end of this sentence. Nearly that many people live in Miami, Florida.”
Kids that love science-themed books filled with fascinating facts will surely get a kick out of this one. It will also be a relief for many to discover that not all bacteria are harmful, and, in fact, bacteria are an important part of our environment.
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About the Author
S. Kitanovic, PhD, became fascinated by microbes as a biology student, and later explored how bacteria “sniff out” their food in a lab at the University of Utah. She enjoys merging science, drawing, and storytelling in picture books to bring the fun of science to young audiences. Her work has appeared in literary journals (The Bitter Oleander, Sierra Nevada College Review, Whiskey Island Magazine), magazines (Dig, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy), and scientific journals (Journal of Bacteriology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Endocrinology).
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This non-biased review of “Esie Explores Beneficial Bacteria” was sponsored* by S. Kitanovic, PhD. Learn more about getting a book review …