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Review: Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak

Do Not Lick This Book

Do Not Lick This Book
By Idan Ben-Barak
Illustrated by Julian Frost
Photos by Linnea Rundgren

Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)

ISBN: 9781250175366
Grades K-3
Out Now

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library


The phrase “mind-blowing” seems to have lost all meaning in these hyperbolic times we live in, but it’s appropriate to use this phrase when I think back to the first time I ever laid eyes on a photo taken with an electron microscope. It was a life-changing experience in that it forced me to view everything around me in a new way. Through the lens of an electron microscope, the sleek point of a pin wasn’t sleek or pointy – it was as jagged and rough as a wayward iceberg. Do Not Lick This Book uses a series of these mind-blowing photos (and some reader participation) to tell the story of the lowly microbe. Nonfiction and metafiction combine in an irresistible package.

Min is a microbe. Tiny. Over three million of her could fit on a period-sized dot. Microbes are everywhere.┬áIncluding this book. The reader is invited to touch the page and give Min a lift. Thus begins a microscopic adventure to the surface of teeth, fabric, a belly button – viewed up close, all are more alien than the surface of the moon.

Do Not Lick This Book 1

Do Not Lick This Book 2

The colorful illustrations exude a sort of animation vibe and are as friendly as they come. Let’s put it this way: never has E. coli been presented in a better light (visually, at least). The design – paper over board cover with extra thick pages, and playful details – a special spot gloss blob on the back in case readers “really must lick this book”, immediately invite readers in.

Back matter includes more in-depth descriptions of the microbes from the book, featuring more accurate renderings (a nice addition).

Rarely is narrative nonfiction this much fun. Add this to your collection with pride.

Review copy from the publisher.

Watch the book trailer for Do Not Lick This Book:


About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.