Micscape Book Review

The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope

Author - Kirsteen Rogers

ISBN 0-7460-3106-8.
Usborne Publishing Ltd., London, 1998.
96 pages, 27.5x21.5cm. UK 9-99 soft cover.


Usborne publish a wide range of books for youngsters. 'The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope' is a splendid new addition to the series. The book won the Junior Prize in the Rhone Poulenc science writing competition for 1999.


The striking cover (shown above) invites the youngster to explore further. The book's presentation is very lively and colourful with a good mix of text, illustrations, diagrams and inset boxes with projects the youngster can do.

Microscopical subjects are illustrated with a good selection of false colour SEM images and some optical microscope images. The book does mention how the SEM images are produced and coloured.

A lively and informative mix of text, images and diagrams covers many aspects of the microscopic world, in this case pollen. This page includes simple instructions for making wet mounts.



The book starts with a chapter headed the 'Micro World' which sets the scene and covers important topics like a sense of scale and how the microscope and microscopy impacts on our lives and in science and technology.

Later chapters on 'The Human Body', 'Plants and Fungi', 'The Insect World', 'Rocks to Robots', 'Past and Present' describes many of the wonders of the microscopic world and how the microscope is used in their investigation. The book has plenty of projects a youngster can do with simple equipment and a student microscope. The book is commendably accurate, although a few inaccuracies in text and images have slipped through.

The book finishes with a chapter on 'Practical Points' which gives sound advice on buying a microscope, equipment and more advanced preparation techniques. A glossary, societies to join, web sites and suppliers completes the book.


So does the book live up to its bold claim of the 'Complete Book'. Well for the age group it's targeted at, it makes a valiant attempt. It is well written and presents the many aspects of microscopy in a lively way. Although the book is aimed at ca. 8-12 year olds, the style is such that it could be equally enjoyed by enthusiasts of any age who want a gentle introduction to microscopes, microscopy and some projects to start a wonderful hobby. Priced at under 10 in the UK it's also excellent value for money.


Many thanks to Laura Creyke of Usborne Publishing for the review copy and for permission to use the book images. The review copy is now being enjoyed and being put to good use by some young enthusiasts.

Usborne Books can be ordered through your local book supplier, web bookshop or directly via Usborne Books On-line.

Review by Comments to the author sent via our contacts page quoting page url plus : ('dwalker','')">Dave Walker. Thanks to my colleagues for thoughts on various aspects of the book.


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Published in the September 1999 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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