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Welcome, welcome, welcome!!! Polly said you might drop by. If you would like, I'll introduce you to some of the real characters that inhabit the wonderful world of cells.

"I'm Chloe the chloroplast. I'm a part of a plant cell. My job is to turn sunlight into sugar! Isn't that a grand job? Plant cells, and animal cells for that matter, are pretty sophisticated. Why don't I let you meet some of the more humble cell folks first.

"These humble cell folks are pretty complex in their own way. They come in many, many shapes.

"They live in every nook and cranny all over the world. Scientists call them bacteria. Sometimes they get a bad rap. Many people only think of bacteria as bad cells. But, the truth is, most do wonderful things for the whole planet, people included.

"Oh! Look who's coming over! It's Simon the soil bacterium! Talk about a good fella!

"You know when people talk about recycling and biodegradable? Well, Simon here does the biodegrading! He takes all that organic material that falls on the ground and breaks it down into small enough pieces for plants to take in through their roots. He does a wonderful job, too. It's hard to see Simon, but without him, you wouldn't be able to see all those plants everywhere.

"Simon has a cell wall all around him for protection; kind of like a suit of armor. Just inside of that, he has a membrane that keeps his insides inside and his outsides outside. And thrown pretty much anywhere inside is his DNA, protein-making factories, energy making devices, his digestive system, and everything else. Simon has pretty much all the same sorts of stuff that plant and animal cells have, only he just throws it wherever it will fit. He's not as organized as plant and animal cells. You probably know people like Simon. You may be like Simon, yourself. So, you know he gets everything done he needs to do, he just doesn't care how he looks when he is doing it!

"Now look who's coming over to see what we're chatting about! It's Ishy the E. coli!

Ishy does the same sort of thing that Simon does, only Ishy lives in animals' intestines instead of the ground. Ishy probably knows some of the E.coli that are living in you right now! Ishy also knows that bad branch of the E.coli family that cause people to get sick. Ishy's not like that! After your stomach

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