Friday, June 2, 2017

Plant Books are Sprouting Up all Over the Place!

Spring is when seeds swell and burst, the new plant pushing through soil and leafing out. Same with books, apparently.
theme: nature, plants, scientist 

  Karl, Get Out of the Garden! Carolus Linnaeus and the naming of everything
by Anita Sanchez; Catherine Stock
48 pages; ages 7-10
Charlesbridge, 2017

Karl Linne was in the garden again. He just wouldn't stay out of it!
Karl, get out of the garden!

Karl's mom dreams that he'll become a lawyer, or perhaps a minister. His father thinks he should apprentice to the shoemaker. But Karl loves spending time in the garden. He loves learning the plants, and watching the insects. So he tells his father that he wants to go to medical school.

Once there, he begins learning how to use plants for healing. There's a big problem though: with so many names for plants, how does he know which is the correct plant to use? Karl decides that what the world needs is a consistent system for naming plants (and other living things) - a system that will help organize life.

What I like about this book: It's a fun way to delve into the history of science, and also learn why we have scientific names for plants and animals. I also like that author Anita Sanchez includes some of the controversies about naming species - especially the idea of including humans. Imagine! Naming humans as if they were just another animal! Worse yet - lumping them in with mammals like groundhogs and cats! The very nerve!

Plants (a Reader - level 1)
by Kathryn Williams
48 pages; ages 2-5 years
NGK, 2017

Look around! There are plants everywhere!

This book is designed to be shared by two readers: an older reader who reads one side, and the just-learning-to-reader who reads the other. It opens with a tour of habitats where one might find plants: in the city, the rainforest, by the pond, and even in the desert. The next chapters explore what plants are, how they grow, and how people use them for food, fuel, and fiber.

What I like about this book: The photos help put the text into context, and show a diversity of examples when discussing fruits, for example. At the end of each chapter is an activity: a matching game, a problem to solve, or something to talk about. I also like the spreads are designed for two readers to share.

Green Green, a Community Gardening Story
by Marie and Baldev Lamba; illus by Sonia Sanchez
32 pages; ages 2-5
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017

Green, green, fresh and clean.

Kids and adults rake and plant and water the garden. But when backhoes come in and dig the ground, the city grows. Everything looks like stone and concrete. but wait - there is a place where weeds grow through the mesh of discarded shopping carts.

Brown brown, dig the ground?

Soon everyone is working together to clear and rake and then the garden grows. and Grows. and GROWS.

What I like about this book: Plants grow everywhere! And with some work, kids and their adult friends turn a vacant lot into a community garden. I like the colors (green, green; brown, brown) and I LOVE the back matter - about how you can make your world more green. There are also notes about how you can help bees and butterflies by planting the flowers they need for nectar and pollen, and by not spraying your garden with chemicals.

Beyond the books:

Visit a garden. It can be your own, or a community garden, or a garden in a park or a botanical garden. Take along a sketchbook and draw some pictures of plants you find there. Paint or color them with the colors you see. Then go again in a few weeks and see what's changed - what colors are the plants now?

Plant some flower seeds in a pot, flower box, or garden. Watch them grow, and put them outside for the bees and butterflies to enjoy. Bees and butterflies like cosmos, bee balm, purple coneflowers, asters, marigolds, and calendula. If you have room, plant a few sunflowers - bees and butterflies like those, too.

Visit a farmer's market and buy some fruits. Fruits have seeds - so you might buy some strawberries (seeds on the outside) or peas (seeds on the inside) or peaches or tomatoes or even zucchini - they are fruits, too (even if your mom says they are vegetables)! Be adventuresome and try a fruit you've never eaten before.

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining others over at 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 copies from the publishers.


  1. I had never heard of Karl Linne and his work to classify plants. Perfect for budding scientists. I really enjoyed Green Green, about growing a community garden. Is it fiction or based on a true community story. Important book for kids to read! Thanks for sharing!

  2. You're making me want to get out into the garden. All three of these books look terrific! Am going to seek them out. Thank you!

  3. You'd probably love the Linnea (Christina Bjork) books too, if you don't already!

  4. Put this one on hold. Can't wait to read it. Thanks.

  5. Ooh, these look great. I'm going to track down Green Green.