The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon

Hardback - February 2019 - AU $24.99

eBook - February 2019 - eRetailers

A picture book about the symbiotic relationship between a bobtail squid and a bacterium.

When he hatches from his egg, Sepio, a baby bobtail squid, is not able to glow. His dark shape is too obvious in the moonlit water and all kinds of predators lurk nearby. Ali, an intrepid Vibrio fischeri bacterium, is determined to reach safety too. + Full description

Can Ali and Sepio help each other?

The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon is a beautifully illustrated storybook about the symbiotic relationship between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the bioluminescent bacteria that help it glow in the moonlight.

Originally published in 2014, this book has been extensively re-written to delight and captivate primary-school aged readers.

Reading level varies from child to child, but we recommend this book for ages 8-12.

Part of the Small Friends Books series – Stories of Partnership and Cooperation in Nature.

- Short description


Praise for the revised edition of The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon
"The book is a beautiful, engaging, and effective work of science communication for a young audience."
Associate Professor Jeff Shimeta, Microbiology Australia 40(1), February 2019

"All children who I have read this book to have enjoyed it for a myriad of reasons – some enjoy the facts section at the back, others enjoy the story, some enjoy the sketches of the different sea creatures and of course many enjoy the whole book!"
Vanessa Rendall, Educate Empower blog, 18 January 2019

"This book had me captivated and brought home to me the wonder of symbiosis. It is a must for all libraries so as the children can understand how these incredible relationships have evolved."
Merle Morcom, Good Reading Magazine, April 2019

"The informative illustrations in the science reference section are particularly good, with enough detail and explanation to articulate complex and sophisticated biological concepts to little people (and big people).
Dr Sam Lloyd, Children's Books Daily, 7 May 2019

"This book adds to the growing number of children’s books on microbes, which I think is fantastic given the important role they play in our life and the environment. I would highly recommend it to teachers and parents of children who are interested in biology and the marine environment."
Allyson O'Brien, Australian Marine Sciences Associations Bulletin, July 2019

"For those curious about these fascinating creatures, it is a great extra resource. You could use it when discussing marine environments and biomes as well as an extra station activity."
Kelly Hack, Interaction 47(2), June 2019

Praise for the original edition of The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon
“I read The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon to my grandson and he was absolutely riveted. As soon as I finished, he demanded that I read it again. He was swept up by the story, the incredible characters in it and wonders of the relationships that have evolved.” David Suzuki – Scientist, Environmentalist and Broadcaster


Hardback | February 2019 | $ 24.99
ISBN: 9781486309894 | 44 pages | 230 x 230 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour illustrations

ePDF | February 2019
ISBN: 9781486309900
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • A beautifully illustrated science-adventure story, set in the waters of Hawaii.
  • Accurate text, created in collaboration with scientists.
  • Engages children in the invisible world of microbes.
  • An extensively re-worked edition of an original book published in 2014.
  • The Small Friends Books series combines cutting-edge scientific research, rich narrative and beautiful illustrations to tell stories that describe symbiotic partnerships between microbes and larger life forms.


Ailsa Wild creates stories for theatre and paper pages. She loves collaborating with acrobats, scientists and children and her favourite question is ... But why?

Aviva Reed is a multi-disciplinary visual ecologist who creates immersive experiences to explore complex science.

Briony Barr draws on her skills as a conceptual artist to visualise complex systems and invisible worlds.

Gregory Crocetti combines his microbial ecology experience with science education skills in an attempt to teach the world that microbes are marvellous.

Linda Blackall is an environmental microbiologist at The University of Melbourne. Her main research interests are using microbes to promote environmental sustainability, understanding symbiotic associations, and generally studying microbes wherever they exist – which is everywhere!

For Teachers

We have created these Teacher Notes as a free PDF download to support the use of this book in the classroom.

Teacher Notes (1.82 MB)