Because in spring, there are more hours of sunlight and plants know it's time to grow! The "What, Where, Why?" series (first published in Britain) provides some basic answers to questions young children often ask about the world around them. With an easy-to-handle square format, kids can track the information on each two-page spread along an illustrated trail linking text and bright color photos, finding along the way an additional question (answers in the back) and, at the end, a multiple choice quiz as lead-in to the next page. Although the information is available in many other books, the format allows for a certain amount of interaction with the text and the illustrations are chosen with an eye to appeal and clarity. In this volume, young plant-lovers can explore seven botanical topicsbulbs, summer growth, flowers, seeds as food, seed travels, plants in winter, and the life spans of various plants. Kids may be especially fascinated to learn that trees like redwoods often live for hundreds of years and that their ages can be discovered by counting the rings in their trunks. These attractive science books would be fun for a parent and child to share. Teachers might use one to introduce a more wide-ranging unit, while the extra questions on each subject ("Do trees have flowers?") could lead to further research, writing, and even field trips. A short index is included and a useful illustrated glossary will help independent readers with unfamiliar words. 2004 (orig. 2003), Gareth Stevens, Ages 4 to 8.
Barbara L. Talcroft