Unseen Jungle: The Microbes That Secretly Control Our World (Hardcover) — By Eleanor Spicer Rice, PhD - Illustrations by Rob Wilson

$18.50 USD

| /

Every year, librarians and staff at The New York Public Library — which as a public system is the second largest library in the United States and the fourth largest in the world — select noteworthy new books for readers of all ages and recommend them as our its Best Books of the Year. The list continue the Library’s century-old tradition of recommending the best-loved titles published for children and young adults each year.

Unseen Jungle: The Microbes That Secretly Control Our World was picked as one of these best books of the year for 2023.

Presents the behind-the-scenes microbial influence over familiar creatures and environments in all its sometimes gory glory, with enough detail to satisfy young readers’ curiosity as well as their delight in all things icky, but not so much as to become overwhelming. . . . the author’s palpable excitement for the topic makes an already-fascinating subject even more engaging. An entertaining and informative exploration of a hidden world.

Kirkus Reviews

This lively peek into the amazing world of microbes, replete with a kid-pleasing “ick” factor, is chock-full of facts, humor, and fun illustrations.

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 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.

Part of the Hidden Life Series, 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.


AGES: 7 to 10, Grades 2 to 5

FORMAT: New, hardcover

PUBLISHED: October 31, 2023

PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press

ISBN: 9781536226461

PAGES: 176

DIMENSIONS: 6.06" W x 8" H x 0.55" D


Eleanor Spicer Rice, PhD, is an entomologist and the author of seven books, including Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants, Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders, and Ants: Workers of the World. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, sons, dogs, hermit crabs, an assortment of spiders and insects, and a small but valiant flock of homing pigeons.

Rob Wilson is an award-winning illustrator and celebrated graphic designer who has created work for the Washington Post, New York magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and the covers of best-selling books. He is the creator of the icon for the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and his work has been featured in galleries in London and New York City, where he lives.