V is for Venus Flytrap: A Plant Alphabetby Eugene Gagliano, Elizabeth Traynor
The plant world is explored from A to Z, with a poem to introduce each topic, and an expository text that provides details.
Children's Literature - Barbara HallEugene Gagliano knows from whence he writes. Retired from elementary school teaching after decades of dedication and kudos, he now brings us this clever alphabet book, chocked with horticulture fun facts from A to Z. Some entries, like "K is for Kelp" and "R is for Roses" bring rich minutiae. Alongside the roses, for instance, we learn that wild rose fossils discovered in Colorado and Oregon are no less than 40 million years old. Other entries, perhaps inevitably, are something of a stretch: "Q is for Quick growing plants like bamboo" and "Y is for Your garden," among them. The book's two-tier age range is quite deliberate, say publishers Stone Bear Press. Beginning readers are given simple poems beside each letter, while sidebar expository writing is intended for middle-school researchers. The watercolor illustrations are pleasant enough, and the publishers urge teachers to download guidelines that complement the book. To borrow a phrase from the artist's dedication, "Mille gracie!" for a good book, creative in its addressing two age groups at once. Reviewer: Barbara Hall
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