Flowers are Calling
by Rita Gray; illus. by Kenard Pak
32 pages; ages 3-8
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Theme: nature, nonfiction, ecology
Flowers are calling a little black bear.The flowers call a bumblebee, a hummingbird. Each creature, it turns out, answers to a different flower. For the bee it's Monkshood. For the butterfly, Queen Anne's Lace. The hummingbird uses his long tongue to sip nectar from long tubular flowers.
No, not a bear! He doesn't care.
They're calling a butterfly to dip from the air.
What I like: Rita Gray introduces us to three nectar-sipping, pollen-collecting critters and then, over the spread of two pages, introduces us to the plants they pollinate. And there's a diversity: insect, mammal, bird... daytime feeders, night feeders. And the illustrations are very nice.
What I really like: After introducing us to a dozen flower/animal pairs, she challenges us to look at flowers: their shape, color, pattern, how they smell, and when they open. Then she addresses how plants make sure they connect with their special pollinators. Some plants give off heat to tempt an insect into staying there on a chilly night. Other flowers have ultraviolet designs that are visible only to certain pollinators. The designs help guide the pollinators to nectar. Oh, and did I mention the illustrations?
Beyond the Book: Check out flower shapes. Butterflies like to land on flowers that provide a platform, like Queen Anne's Lace. Can you find other plants like that in your neighborhood? What about long, tubular flowers?
Flower Time: Spend a couple days watching flowers open and close. Our hawkweed opens when the sun is up and closes in the evening. Do you have any flowers that open and close with the sun? Could you plant a flower clock?
Who visits yellow flowers? What insects or birds visit yellow flowers in your area? What about red flowers? Blue flowers? White flowers?
Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy from the publisher.