Written for young readers, Alexander’s All in a Drop details the many accomplishments of Van Leeuwenhoek in an immensely enjoyable way.
Without the benefit of any scientific training, Van Leeuwenhoek improved upon Robert Hooke’s invention–the microscope. Van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe living bacteria and protozoa.
While Hooke and other scientists suspected a hoax, Van Leeuwenhoek was able to prove the existence of tiny, nearly invisible creatures. Later known as the father of microbiology, Van Leeuwenhoek documented what he saw in letters to Britain’s Royal Society.
Alexander emphasizes Van Leeuwenhoek’s humble beginnings and his reluctance to consider himself a scholar.
In a two page spread, she list the things Van Leeuwenhoek was the first see on a microscopic level (e.g. heart cells, yeast, fish scales, and roots of trees). He labeled the bacteria and protozoa, which had never been seen before, as “animalcules” or little animals.
Delightful pictures by Vivien Mildenberger illuminate the text.