DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK! (It’s Full of Germs)

Cindy: What a surprise awaits inside these pages! The warning in the title, Do Not Lick This Book (2018), should be heeded—it is, indeed, full of germs! But don’t let that steer you away from reading it. Journey along with Min, a microbe who travels, via your finger, from the paper of the book’s pages to your shirt’s fabric, to your teeth, to the skin of your belly button, and then back to the book.

Small cartoon germs populate microscope photos showing the details of the surfaces the characters visit with the reader’s help. Min meets up with a streptococcus bacteria on a tooth who encourages the owner of the tooth to brush less so the bacteria can do their work to make more cavities. Young children who haven’t seen close-up photographs like these will be fascinated and learn a little bit about the importance of hygiene in the process. My four middle-school science teachers were giggling and passing this book (and some germs) around during parent-teacher conference breaks this week after I showed it to one of them. More proof that reading science books is fun!

Lynn: Diligent teeth-brushing and hand-washing are sure to be a side benefit of reading this book—I know I immediately wanted to do both. Who would have ever guessed the surface of a tooth looked like this? (And don’t get me started on the close-up of a belly button!) This truly informative book has the perfect blend of fact, humor, and grossness that will totally engage kids. Can you say “infectious” humor?

Extra-heavy, sturdy pages and a glossy surface should withstand some disinfectant wipes, too, for adults concerned about the microbe transfer being a bit too literal. A concluding page introduces kids to what the four starring microbes really look like, sharing their scientific names and some brief information about them. Excuse me, but I hear a bar of soap calling my name!

About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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