Unseen Jungle: The Microbes That Secretly Control Our World (Your Hidden Life)

Unseen Jungle: The Microbes That Secretly Control Our World (Your Hidden Life)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
May 02, 2023
Buy This Book
Microbes are everywhere: outside, indoors, on your body, in your body. In fact, only about half of our bodies' cells are human cells—the rest are microbes. Whether helping people digest their food or using mind-control techniques to lure mice into the path of hungry cats (no, really), microbes form an unseen jungle all around us. Through zany facts, hilarious and sometimes disgusting illustrations, and interviews with experts in their fields, aspiring young scientists (or kids who just want to be grossed out) will discover a hidden world in which your health depends on a myriad of microbes, houseflies get zombified by fungi, and termites are saving the planet one fart at a time. With such extras as sidebars, limericks, and even a lesson on how to draw E. coli,this “eww”-worthy treasure trove for kids is an engrossing romp into the microbe drama unfolding where you might least expect it.

Editor review

1 review
Do you know what's in your carpet?
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
As adults, we know that there are mites that live on our faces and that having our dogs sleep in bed with us probably isn't the most sanitary choice, but we just... choose not to think about it too much. Your average fourth grader, however, thinks that farts, zombie flies, and roaches are kind of fascinating. This is the book for them.

Told in a very conversational way, this book doesn't shy away from poop jokes or deep dives into why farts smell the way they do. It talks a lot about how flies spend their time, and tells more about they life forms in our bodies, houses, pets, and yards than we perhaps want to know. There are engaging pictures to liven things up, but looking at the cover just now, they sometimes make me want to rinse my toothbrush in vinegar and microwave it. Or perhaps just keep it in the fridge between uses.
Good Points
There's a lot of well researched science here, and even though the treatment is humorous, there are good explanations of many things. Key terms are explained, and the text is geared to younger readers and is easy to follow. There is a great list of resources at the back as well as some instruction on how to draw some microbes. (With faces; not serious scientific ones!)

Gift this gross and funny book to a budding scientist, perhaps along with a microscope and copies of Marrin's 2012 Little Monsters or Jarrow's 2022 The Murderer: The Parasite that Haunted the South. Adults who read this are just going to want to clean the entire house and then go take a shower!
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