Bacteriological picture books

A Tom Gauld cartoon in the latest (July 18th) New Scientist:


Bacteria crossed with children’s picture books.

Mr. Coccus. From Wikipedia:

Coccus (plural cocci) is a term used to describe any bacterium that has a spherical, ovoid, or generally round shape. It is one of the three distinct bacterial shapes, the other two being bacillus (rod-shaped) and spiral-shaped cells.

Coccus is an English loanword of a Neolatin noun, which in turn stems from the Greek masculine noun kokkos (κόκκος) meaning “berry”.

Cocci may occur as single cells or remain attached following cell division. Those that remain attached can be classified based on cellular arrangement:

Diplococci [diplo ‘double’] are pairs of cocci (e.g. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria gonorrhoeae)

Streptococci are chains of cocci (e.g. Streptococcus pyogenes).

Staphylococci are irregular (grape-like) clusters of cocci (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus).

Tetrads are clusters of four cocci arranged within the same plane (e.g. Micrococcus sp.).

Sarcina is a genus of bacteria that are found in cuboidal arrangements of eight cocci.


The picture book, from Wikipedia, here:

Mr. Men is a series of 49 children’s books by British author Roger Hargreaves commencing in 1971… The series features characters with names such as Mr. Tickle and Mr. Happy who have personalities and physical attributes based on their names.

and here:

Mr. Tickle is the first book in the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves. The story was originally based on a question by his son, Adam Hargreaves, who asked what a Tickle would look like.


The Diplococci in the Hat. On diplococci, see above. (A diplococcus has two spherical parts, like a head and a body.)

The picture book, from Wikipedia:

The Cat in the Hat is a children’s book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957.


The Very Hungry Streptobacilli. From Wikipedia:

Streptobacillus is a genus of aerobic, gram-negative facultative anaerobe bacteria, which grow in culture as rods in chains.

(rods in chains, resembling a caterpillar).

The picture book, from Wikipedia:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s picture book designed, illustrated and written by Eric Carle, first published by the World Publishing Company in 1969, later published by Penguin Putnam.


The Tale of Peter Coccobacillus. From Wikipedia:

A coccobacillus (plural coccobacilli) is a type of bacterium with a shape intermediate between cocci (spherical bacteria) and bacilli (rod-shaped bacteria). Coccobacilli are therefore in essence very short rods which may be mistaken for cocci.

The picture book, from Wikipedia:

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor… [It was] privately printed by Potter in 1901 after several publishers’ rejections but was printed in a trade edition by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902.


(Peter Coccobacillus nicely suggests Peter Cottontail, though there’s no connection between cocco– and cotton.)

2 Responses to “Bacteriological picture books”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Norval Smith on Facebook:

    By Bacterix Potter, I suppose.‬

  2. An old hand, and two young hands | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] on the Carle in a section of my 7/27/15 posting “Bacteriological picture […]

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