Friday, April 7, 2017

Fantastic Flowers

by Susan Stockdale
32 pages; ages 2-6;   Peachtree Publishers, 2017

theme: nature, imagination, nonfiction

Flowers in shapes that surprise and delight. 
Upside-down pants,
   a parrot in flight.
If you follow this blog long enough you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for bugs of all types. Jumping spiders, bumble bees, fast-running beetles, striders skating across a pond. So when I saw the cover of Susan Stockdale's newest book with laughing bumble bee orchids on the cover, I knew I Just Had To Review It! 

Then I opened the covers to find spider flowers on the end-papers!

Fantastic Flowers is a rhythmic, rhyming romp through the flower garden. The cool thing is, these flowers look like something else: ballerinas, monkeys, spoons - and, of course, bugs. The illustrations - vibrant, bold, acrylic paintings - are botanically accurate with a touch of whimsy. Susan told me that she had them checked and double-checked with her botanical experts.

What I like love about this book: The words. The art. The vibrant imagination that explodes off the page. The curiosity. And, of course, the back matter: photos and notes about the actual flowers that inspired this wonderfully fun book.

Beyond the book:

Go hunting for unusual flowers. If there are greenhouses nearby, see if they have any orchids growing. Or look through books of flowers. You can find lots of photos of unusual flowers online. What do you think they look like? Lips? Dancers? Give them names that describe them.

Draw or paint some fantastic flowers of your own. Use photos of real flowers to inspire you. Paint flowers on large pieces of paper or cut-open paper bags. Paint flowers on small scraps of paper or the backs of envelopes. Brighten up your world with fantastic flowers of your own.

Plant some flowers - in a garden or in a container. Draw pictures of your flowers as they grow. Measure how tall they are with a ruler and keep track of their height each day. Make sure they get plenty of sun.

Check out my interview with Susan about how she paints flowers - over at the Grog Blog. And hop over to her website to see more of her art.

Today is 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.We're also joining the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. Poetry and interesting flowers -- nice combination. Thanks for the post. I will check this book out.

  2. Sue what a beautiful book on flowers. My grandmother would have loved it.

  3. What a beautiful book. I love bright simple illustrations like those!

  4. I love the anatomical detail in those flowers.

  5. So lovely, Sue! It helps me realize that Spring is here...even though we still have snow on the ground in the backyard. ;)

  6. I always thought that orchards appear to be laughing. Now I'm not the only one who thinks that. lol. Cute cover. I'm not normally a fan of creatures but I love flowers. Nice review.