Title: Pasteur’s Fight Against Microbes
Author: Beverley Birch & Christian Birmingham
Series: Science Stories
Major Themes: Louis Pasteur, Microbiology, Scientists, Picture Books
Synopsis: How did Louis Pasteur discover what causes spoilage of food and disease?
I was a little surprised the other day when my 5-year-old daughter brought out Pasteur’s Fight Against Microbes when I asked her to bring me a book to read to her. I was happy to read it, though—it had been several years since we last did. It’s one of my favorite kinds of picture books—a biography.
Louis Pasteur was just an ordinary teacher in a small village when the father of one of his students came to him with a problem. The village made a large portion of its living by brewing alcohol from sugar beets, but a lot of the vats were turning sour instead. Was there any way Louis could help solve the problem and save the business? He knew nothing about sugar beets or fermentation, but he started investigating.
Using a microscope, Louis discovered that the health vats were full of yeasts. Then, he looked in the sick vats, and found no yeasts, but lots of little black rods. What was going on? He soon found out what was happening… but where were the black rods coming from? One experiment followed another, and he was quite excited to find answers that backed up his ideas!
One thing that I really liked about reading Pasteur’s Fight Against Microbes right now was that I’m also reading aloud about Pasteur from a more scholarly, though quite fascinating, older book titled Microbe Hunters. The same story was told in both books, though in much more detail in the older book. I love when we have a coincidence like that!
The pictures in Pasteur’s Fight are wonderful. They show the story in vivid detail. Between the story and the pictures, this book is one to come back to over and over.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9