Adventures with a Microscope 


Richard Headstrom


Paperback: 232 pages 

Publisher: Dover Pubns; ISBN: 0486234711; reprint edition (June 1977)

Microscopes in toy stores haven't really changed much with time. There are better-quality models now available, but the box still usually contains the 'scope and a few dozen glass slides of blood, insect parts, and such. Rarely are the directions enough to keep a child's interest in microscopy alive for more than a few weeks, at best. This book offers a guided tour of the microscopic world, in the form of 59 "adventures" which range from the kitchen to backyard pond or shoreline. More than instructions on how to capture a fly and examine its feet, the adventure includes a discussion of how the fly can walk on the ceiling. The microscope, then, becomes one gateway to rich discoveries in nature study. If there is a problem with this book, it is its age. This is a reprinted version of the 1941 edition. Many of the supplies recommended "for your laboratory table" are no longer easily available, while some are now considered hazardous. The fly mentioned earlier is to be killed with chloroform, for example. There are safer alternatives available, but the reader will have to do some further research. Nonetheless, it's a stimulating book, charmingly illustrated with many line drawings. The language is at times too difficult for younger readers, but a parent/child team of adventurers will find it useful.