Do not lick this book
Allen & Unwin, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
This seems like a strange title for a book, even given that we know little ones like to explore their world using their mouths, but it achieves its purpose – to make you venture beyond the covers. And when you do, you are introduced to a whole new world – one that contains Min and millions of her microbe friends. You are encouraged to place your finger on the spot and pick her up and take her on a journey around your body – your teeth, your clothes, even your belly button. With the aid of electron microscope images, we are introduced to her relatives Rae the streptococcus, Dennis the fungus and Jake the corynebacterium and all the while there is the message of keeping clean to keep healthy. Min herself is an E.coli and while she can live happily in your intestines, she spreads easily and with dire consequences of hands are not washed regularly.
While antiseptic manufacturers would have us believe that we need to live in a sterile world and they can assist with this, the truth is it is impossible to rid the world of its germs, helpful or harmful, and this is a fun introduction to that that we cannot see. Young scientists will love it and will delight in sharing their new knowledge with the adults in their world while those who are reluctant to wash their hands, clean their teeth and change their clothes might think again.