Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, July 25, 2019

All In A Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek discovered an invisible world by Lori Alexander

All In A Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek discovered an invisible world
by Lori Alexander; Illustrated by Viven Mildenberger
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2019
Grades 3 up

In 1632, people were unaware of microbes, those invisible organisms that live in soil, foods we eat, water, oceans, air, even in our bodies. It was Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632 -1723), a Dutch draper, using a microscope he designed, discovered that unknown living world and presented his findings to the Royal Society in London. 

All In A Drop conveys the life of a simple tradesman who did not got to college, “or speak English or Latin, and how his curiosity changed everyone’s mind.”  

Mildenberger’s cartoon-style illustrations, created using pastel, colored pencil and watercolor, complement the conversational tone of the narrative. Side bars are placed throughout giving more information on specific topics.

Back matter includes an author’s note, a timeline, source notes, bibliography, and index.

A solid introduction to an interesting man whose curious mind made a remarkable discovery.

The author sent me a copy of this book to write this review.


  1. I've just returned from the Netherlands so can't wait to immerse myself in this book and learn more about the people from that wonderful country. Thanks for writing it, Lori!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Lynne! I hope you enjoy All in a Drop. It was a fascinating story to research and write.

  3. This looks fantastic! Putting it on my to-read list! Love the cover.