by Lisa Amstutz; illus. by Rebecca Evans
32 pages; ages 4-8
Dawn Publications, 2020
theme: plants, nature, rhyme
It’s tough being rooted when danger is near. So what do plants do?
When you’re threatened by danger, you can run away. Plants can’t. But they can fight back. Some use needles and prickers. Some use poison. Some exude sticky stuff to trap intruders. And some use disguises so hungry herbivores don’t recognize them. And, like you, some plants call for help!
What I like about this book: I love the attitude that author Lisa Amstutz imbues within these plants. They are feisty! They are sneaky! They are determined to survive! Each spread introduces a plant defense in verse, accompanied by a sidebar that gives more context. I particularly love the scene with cotton plants calling in the “air force”. When attacked by caterpillars, cotton – and other plants – release a mix of chemicals into the air. Those chemicals signal to wasps that “food for larvae” is available. The wasps lay their eggs inside caterpillars and, when the wasp larvae hatch they eat the caterpillars from the inside out. Gross but cool, right?
Beyond the Books:
What sort of defenses do the plants around your house use? If you can visit a plant conservatory, look for plants with prickers and thorns, thick milky sap, spicy fruits (like a hot pepper), or other defenses.
Plants calling on insects for help sounds pretty weird. You can read more about parasitic wasps, and see a video, here.
Design a plant that can “fight back.” What superpower will your plant have? How will it work? Draw a picture of make a model of your plant.
Lisa Amstutz is a member of #STEAMTeambooks. You can find out more about her at her website.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.