Plantopedia

As colourful and fascinating as a wildflower meadow, this gem of a book introduces children to the variety, beauty and sheer quirkiness of the botanic world. Although fulfilling all of its credentials as an encyclopaedia, this text manages to go far beyond that, providing a vibrant celebration of the natural world.

Crucial to the success of Plantopedia is the organising principle which has been chosen for its exploration of plant life. Rather than importing categories from adult textbooks Adrienne Barman has instead opted for eye catching and curiosity-engendering themes which lend the book a sense of honesty, accessibility and humour. The facts included range from the fairly familiar to the less well known, and an intelligent balance has been struck between highlighting some of the exotic plant life in the world, and including the ordinary and everyday which children will be able to identify in their own immediate environment. The illustrations are sumptuous and realised in such detail that the book could be used as an effective, if somewhat heavy, field guide.

Plantopedia has the mind of a botanist, the heart of a children’s author, and the unabashed flamboyance of a carnival. Children will love digging into this vivid world of all things botanical, while parents, carers, and teachers will find good soil in it for encouraging children to see, love and interact with the natural environment.