Plantopedia / Summer

Plantopedia
Adrienne Barman
Wide Eyed Editions

Barman follows up her Creaturepedia with a celebration of more than 600 plants that includes trees, fruits, flowers – wild and cultivated, vegetables, herbs, weeds, healing plants and more from all over the world.

Somewhat strangely for this reviewer at least, we start indoors with ‘The air fresheners’ – plants to grow indoors that clean the air. This section is followed by ‘The all-blacks’ and then ’The aquatics’ ‘The big eaters’ and another colour section – ‘The blues and purples’. I’m not sure whether the author had a plan in mind when she arranged the spreads but to me the section sequencing seems quirky and perhaps random which creates something of a surprise element.I particularly liked The Stars pages.

Having said that the whole book is packed with learning possibilities in various curriculum areas such as science, geography, history, art perhaps (although it’s better to use real plants I suggest) and almost every topic could be an inspiration for further investigation.

In contrast to the rest of the book, the appendix devoted to three aspects of leaves – shape, arrangement and edges/veins – is straightforward botany.

The illustrations are bright, engaging and gently humorous – look out for animals popping up on lots of spreads, and the odd human from time to time.

One for budding botanists, the family bookshelf or school library.

For younger readers, with plants also taking centre stage is:

Summer
David A. Carter
Abrams Appleseed

Just in time for summer comes David A. Carter’s fourth and final pop-up in his seasons series. Carter has created six plant pop-ups –one of which he places at the centre of each spread,

and in and around them are to be found various animals including birds, butterflies and other minibeasts, small mammals, a snake, a turtle and a fish.

A brief accompanying text invites children to get involved by asking such questions as ‘Who eats the flowers?’ or ‘Who swims in the creek?’

Fun and captivating, this is an American publication so some of the named items will be unfamiliar but that offers a good talking point for readers in parts of the world other than the USA.

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