From the Publisher
[Ryden's] large, incredibly sharp, full-color photos of 38 species are stunning. The text accompanying each picture is both informative and personal.
School Library Journal, Starred
There's nothing about the design of this handsome book of wildflowers to indicate it was written for children; it's the short, simple text that makes it accessible. Each spread includes a white-bordered page featuring a clear, colorful photo of the plant in the wild. The facing page offers the plant's common and botanical names, its season for blooming, and a few paragraphs of information, which might include the derivation of its name, details of the plant's fertilization, and interesting facts about the plant and its uses in food or medicine. Occassionaly, a double-page spread will include two close-up photos of flowers. Although not quite avuncular, the formal yet conversational tone of the writing is reminiscent of a chatty, well-informed aunt guiding the reader through forest and meadow.
A beautiful browsing book of wildflower photos and meandering reminiscences by the author of Wild Horses I Have Known and other books on nature. . . .this is sure to be enjoyed by nature lovers and great for quick identification of something lovely.
The flowers found in our everyday environments "poking their impudent faces through cracks in the sidewalks or adding gay color to sunbleached roadsides and vacant lots"as well as a bit further off-road in forests and meadowsserve as inspiration and material for Ryden's lyrical nature writing and exquisite photography.
Magnificent photographs of thirty-eight common wild flowers make this a perfect choice to introduce beginners to the joy of wild flowers. Even the lifelong enthusiast will be impressed with the informative introduction and brief text that accompany each photograph. The author speaks to the reader as if she is a personal friend going on a walk with you. The reader feels energized to hurry into the wood so as not to miss the brief moment that will take place, whether one is there to observe it or not. The author explains the reason for color, shape, texture and odor from the plant's point of view. She respects each plant, even those some disdain, like the dandelion and nightshade. She emphasizes the need to leave wild plants in their self-selected habitat by making it clear that they cannot be successfully transplanted. Scientific names and bloom timetables are included in a book that is just the right sizelarge enough to see details, but not too big to carry along. Every family and every library should have this book so that the enjoyment of wild flowers can be passed to the next generation. Sources for further reading are listed. 2001, Clarion, $17.00. Ages 5 up. Reviewer: Margarette Reid
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Ryden opens her book with the statement, "Everyone loves wildflowers," and then makes a case for enjoying and protecting them. Her large, incredibly sharp, full-color photos of 38 species are stunning. The text accompanying each picture is both informative and personal. Readers find out how the flower got its name, where to look for it, how it is pollinated, how it has been studied by scientists or used by people, and what meaning it has to the author. Occasional slight personification ("The Canada lily prevents this from happening by hanging its head") adds to the affectionate tone of the writing, inviting youngsters to care about these flowers. This is not a field guide. Although the entries are arranged generally by the months in which they bloom in the U.S., there are no maps; the size of the book eliminates easy portability; and the small number of flowers covered limits its use in identification. See it instead as a luxurious invitation for children to take a close look at wildflowers in their part of the country.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A beautiful browsing book of wildflower photos and meandering reminiscences by the author of Wild Horses I Have Known (1999) and other books on nature. Ryden begins with skunk cabbage, one of the first plants to flower in spring, and continues with full-color photographs and brief descriptions of wildflowers encountered from March to November, ending with the familiar New England aster. The end flap indicates that she encountered many of the wildflowers in New York State, so it's to be assumed that many of these flowers are more typical of the eastern woodlands region of the East Coast, though ranges are not given. She provides a common and scientific name, as well as blooming time, and some intriguing details. For example, she notes the common blue violet reproduces three ways: pollen-bearing insects fertilize the showy flowers, a second type of less showy flower never opens but is self-fertile, and finally shoots sent up from its vast root system. Some opinions are personal, as when she voices her approval of purple loosestrife, the bane of environmentalists, "A plant so beautiful ought to be enjoyed." Sometimes she includes snippets of poetry, medicinal or Indian lore, how the plant got its name, or where it originated. Full-color photos appear one to a page, framed with wide, white borders, frequently showing dramatic close-ups of flower heads. Her introduction suggests ways for readers to observe wildflowers for themselves. While more useful for browsing than for research (there is no index), this is sure to be enjoyed by nature lovers and great for quick identification of something lovely. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-12)