This photo-essay shows spread after spread of living, breathing, utterly bizarre landscapes, aswarm with alien creaturesno, it's not science fiction, but everyday items, magnified up to 35,000 times through microscopic photography. As the camera zooms in closer and closer, readers see and learn about dust mites, fungi, parasites and the like. A look at the average toothbrush magnified 200 times, for example, reveals a thriving colony of bacteria, while an up-close-and-personal tour of the breakfast table finds symmetrical crystal patterns in the sugar, as well as glutinous, utterly unappetizing crevasses in the buttered toast. Stunning from a design standpoint, the book's amazing photographs are balanced by generous white space and crisp type. Gatefold flaps on each spread add spice, coyly hiding the nature of the next household "horror" until the last possible minute. Snedden's writing is tight, his humor is hip (the section on such creatures as cockroaches and silverfish dares readers to "come face to face with the nightshift"), and his material is as intriguing as it is instructive. Boldly going where no picture book has gone with such pizzazz before, this one's a winner through and through. Ages 5-10. (May)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gr 3-5-A lively text and too-small captions accompany what is mostly a book of exquisite photographs. Snedden's microscopic magnifications of creatures and things reveal the amazing world around and on us. Dust mites, mold, household items, and common bugs become phantasmagorical when enlarged-up to 10,000 times their actual size-and shown in vivid color. Only the title leaves something to be desired-though it does attract attention.-Eva Elisabeth Von Ancken, Trinity Pawling School, NY
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
nger for reading aloud. A microscope reveals the disgusting, secret horrors of home. Tiny hidden dust mites, bacteria, fungi, parasites, hairs, and food particles are shown hugely magnified in close-up color photographs. On the left-hand side of each double-page spread is a mystery view of what looks like an alien monster or a moon landscape; open the flap on the right-hand page, and you discover the commonplace thing you're really seeing as well as pictures of other creatures like it. The combination of puzzle and yucky answer is a dramatic way to reveal the excitement of science, and a lot of precise information is given in the caption of each picture. One of the best pages is about the human body ("You!" ), with pictures of two hairs growing from a human scalp, beads of sweat, etc. The informal tone lends itself to participation and reading aloud, though it is sometimes just too chirpy and cute; in some paragraphs almost every sentence ends in an exclamation mark ("This is a toothbrush!" ) or a rhetorical question ("Does that thought make you itch?" ). But the photos in clear, brilliant color are strange and beautiful, the facts are astonishing, and the science is amazing.
Give this book a perfect ten on the prickle-meter. Photographed in glorious yucknocolor, the pictures on these pages are guaranteed to raise goose bumps and leave readers itching. Dust mites and silverfish, flora and fungi, the hairs on a human headeven something so bland as the surface of a compact diskare microscopically enlarged to present a whole new view of the everyday world. There's surely an educational purpose to it allto open children's eyes to the wonders of scientific explorationbut Snedden (What is a Bird?, 1993, etc.) has created a gross-fest that is far too absorbing to be a simple learning experience. A foldout page allows readers to guess the objects under the slide. Most can't be guessed (the surface of a tooth looks like a dry riverbed), but the format adds to the fun. The title says it all, and most children will adore it.