Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

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Product Details

Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
9.9 X 9.9 X 0.5 inches | 0.9 pounds
Library Binding
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About the Author

Writer Heather Ferranti Kinser lives with her family on the San Francisco Peninsula. Her title Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen won the Maryland Blue Crab Award.


"Readers are invited to zoom in on the anatomical parts of 11 different creatures, from sea snail teeth to gecko toes. On each spread, the verso shows a large photograph of the animal being discussed. The recto offers a close-up. A fuzzy honeybee is depicted exploring a flower, and then the hairs on its eyes are magnified to wondrous results, using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). A cat licks itself, and its tongue is shown covered in curvy spines. Facts are brought up concisely; very few sentences are used throughout the book. The beautiful photographs add reader appeal. The SEM is fully explained, as is the term nanoscale. Animal components such as shark skin, butterfly wings, toucan beaks, and water strider legs are further explained after the main text. VERDICT An engaging look at microscopic parts of familiar animals. Recommended."--School Library Journal

-- (4/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"Sharks can swim speedily and birds can fly because of physical structures too minuscule to see. Electron-microscope images accompany simple text observations about the importance of unseen, tiny attributes in the physiology of 11 animals: sea snail, shark, blue morpho butterfly, bird, snake, water strider, honeybee, cat, cicada, toucan, and gecko. (Specific species aren't identified for the shark, bird, or snake.) Aspects of strength (tensile and hardness), speed, color, agility, and cleanliness and protection are attributed to fibers and bumps that are invisible to the eye but amazing at very high levels of magnification. Close-up, lower-magnification photos of each animal are also included. A photo of what is presumably a gecko's foot, highly magnified, is one of the best, though it appears on an introductory page and not with the nanoscale microscopic image of the gecko's bristly toes. The backmatter yields some good information and adds factual substance to this visual sampling of microscopic discoveries in biology--a paragraph of explanation for each creature expands on the earlier text; 'nanoscale' is defined with an accompanying graph; and the scanning electron microscope is briefly described. Photos are attributed to stock libraries. The 'wow' factor in seeing variations in animal adaptations revealed through electron microscopy is compelling. A solid invitation to find out more."--Kirkus Reviews

-- (2/15/2020 12:00:00 AM)