Today I review a wonder-inspiring picture book debut from friend, critique partner, and fellow 2020 Debut Crew member, Heather Ferranti Kinser.

Title: SMALL MATTERS: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Written by: Heather Ferranti Kinser

Millbrook Press, April 2020

For ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes/topics: science, STEM, technology, animal adaptations, scanning electron microscope (SEM), nanoscale

First spread:

In a BIG world filled with many BIG questions, we look for BIG answers.

But what if an answer is smaller than small?


Nearly invisible?

Could something that small even matter at all?

Summary (from the publisher):

Can something small matter at all? Of course it can! In this book for young readers (who know a thing or two about being small), you can take a super close look at details too little to be seen with the human eye. Powerful shots from scanning electron microscopes show shark skin, bird feathers, the hairs on a honeybee’s eye, and so much more, proving that tiny details can make a BIG difference.

Why I highly recommend this book:

This compelling book invites readers to take a closer look — a nanoscale-level look — at some fascinating animal adaptations. Do you how a water strider can walk on water? Or why a cat’s tongue is so effective at cleaning? The answers are surprising! In SMALL MATTERS, Kinser’s lyrical and illuminating text is coupled with electron-microscope images that together inform and astonish the reader. I imagine kids will come away from this book inspired to ask more questions about animal mysteries and scanning electron microscopes. I HIGHLY recommend this book for classrooms, libraries, and homes. Budding scientists and animals lovers will be enthralled!

Idea for educators:  

Use the book’s fascinating, information-packed back matter as a jumping off point to take a deeper dive into particular animal’s adaptations and/or other uses for the scanning electron microscope (SEM).

(For a colossal collection of picture book reviews, please visit this page on Susanna’s site:

9 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: SMALL MATTERS

  1. I remember the microscope that my father had back when I was growing up. Some days, Dad encouraged me to find tiny things we could study up close. SERIOUSLY up close. One of my strongest memories is of the time everyone in my family plucked out a single hair to compare under that microscope. Fascinating is the best word that comes to mind. I’m, of course, going to read the book you shared. I’m curious to see what wonders fill its pages! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great memory! It’s wonderful that your father encouraged your sense of wonder/curiosity. Thanks for sharing, Leslie. I always wonder what my kids will remember from their childhoods.


  2. Love this concept! And I love the hook “Can something that small even matter at all?” Talk about a metaphor for children, too! Thanks for the rec! The San Francisco Public Library does not have it on order, so I suggested it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great way to encourage kids to ask questions and look at things up close. It was fun to examine all the things we could find in pond water, even if it was with a much less powerful miscroscope. You still find amazingly tiny things you eyes can’t see. I can’t wait to get a good look at this book. Thanks Gabi!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing the opening — I love the free style as it makes the story (nonfiction) much more interesting. I loved my microscope as a child, so this would appeal to me — and to a great grandson. Great share today!

    Liked by 1 person

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