What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew?

Overview

A pygmy shrew is small; it's among the smallest of mammals. What could be smaller? Well, a ladybug--a pygmy shrew would look like a mammoth to a ladybug's eyes. But then, that same ladybug would look gigantic next to protozoa.Robert E. Wells, author of Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? now invites you to explore the large world of the very small.
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Overview

A pygmy shrew is small; it's among the smallest of mammals. What could be smaller? Well, a ladybug--a pygmy shrew would look like a mammoth to a ladybug's eyes. But then, that same ladybug would look gigantic next to protozoa.Robert E. Wells, author of Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? now invites you to explore the large world of the very small.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Clayton Rowen
The book begins by comparing the size of a pygmy shrew to a toadstool, an elephant and a ladybug. The composition of smaller and smaller particles is explored. Illustrations of paramecia, bacteria, molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons and quarks are included along with the explanation that in order to view these a special microscope is needed. A small glossary is also included. The magnified illustrations help to clarify the vocabulary.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4In this presentation that goes from small to infinitesimal, Wells compares the size of a tiny animal (a pygmy shrew) to an insect (a ladybug), which is in turn contrasted with one-celled animals, bacteria, molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles. Bright, colorful cartoons and a text that looks like hand lettering in a variety of fonts are jauntily arranged across the pages. Readers are encouraged to try to imagine being the sizes of the creatures under discussion. This lighthearted treatment is fine for the familiar, but begins to become confusing for a paramecium, an amoeba, and bacteria. Viruses are skipped as the narrative continues to include molecules, atoms, quarks, and electrons of the physical sciences instead of a parallel journey through diminishing sizes in the animal world to perhaps ovum, sperm, and DNA. The book has the look of an introduction for young readers. As the narrative continues, however, many terms are introduced, without pronunciation guides even in the two-page glossary, and the cartoon approach becomes cluttered and less effective.Frances E. Millhouser, Reston Regional Library, VA
Carolyn Phelan
In "Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?" (1993), Wells used words and pictures to give young children an inkling of how big things can be. In his latest book, he reverses the concept to introduce smallness. A pygmy shrew looks small beside an elephant, but not when it's next to a ladybug. In turn, the ladybug looks enormous compared to a paramecium. Showing that even a single cell is not the smallest thing, Wells introduces molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks. The acrylic-and-ink artwork includes touches of humor. Despite the inherent problems in illustrating what cannot be observed, Wells introduces a challenging concept in a way that will entertain and intrigue young children.
From the Publisher

"This lighthearted look at size features engaging pen and acrylic illustrations and a clear, informative text."

The Horn Book Guide

"Wells introduces a challenging concept in a way that will entertain and intrigue young children."

Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807588376
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Series: Wells of Knowledge Science Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.82 (w) x 7.33 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Read an Excerpt

What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew?


By Robert E. Wells

ALBERT WHITMAN & Company

Copyright © 1995 Robert E. Wells
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-8838-3


CHAPTER 1

How small would you say that small really is? Is something you can hold in your hand, like a blueberry, small? How about a grain of sand?

Yes, it's true we could call those things small. But in this book, you'll find much, MUCH smaller things—things you cannot ordinarily see.

Unless, of course, you look through a MICROSCOPE.

An ordinary (optical) microscope bends light rays in a way that makes objects appear larger than they really are. With this you can see things you may not have known existed. You can discover, for example, that many tiny creatures live inside a single water drop. But did you know that there is a world of things too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope? To see these things, you need to use a much more powerful instrument-an electron microscope, which uses electrons rather than light rays to scan images. This is the kind that many scientists use.

The world of the Very Small is almost unbelievably tiny, and hard to imagine. But it's quite real. In fact, it's just as real as a blueberry.

Everyone knows you can stretch your mind by thinking big. Do you suppose it's also possible to stretch your mind by thinking small?

This is a PYGMY SHREW. From the end of her nose to the tip of her tail, she's only about 3 inches (7 ½ centimeters) long.

If you were a pygmy shew, you'd feel mighty small. Even some TOADS TOOLS would be taller than you!

If you happened to meet an ELEPHANT, you'd probably think you were the smallest thing in the UNIVERSE!

Compared to an elephant, the largest land mammal, she looks very small indeed.

But pygmy shrew, you're not so small. Not compared to a LADY BUG.

Lady bugs are a kind of beetle, and beetles are just one of the many kinds of insects. Pygmy shrews are insect eaters, but they prefer to leave lady bugs alone. They know that lady bugs have a bitter taste!


(Continues...)

Excerpted from What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? by Robert E. Wells. Copyright © 1995 Robert E. Wells. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book helps to stimulate young readers minds on the subject of atoms. It is a great book for young readers who enjoy science.

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