Gr 3-5-Velghe's charming illustrations of wildflowers are delicately done in pastel watercolors. Sweet-faced children from a variety of ethnic groups are shown enjoying the beauties of nature. Unfortunately, the artwork is the highlight of the book. The layout is confusing, as the unlabeled flowers have minute numbers placed by them, referring readers to the index to identify them. Also, there are 3 random pages that give slightly more information about 11 of the 32 wildflowers covered, as well as about ladybugs, dragonflies, and frogs. No explanation is given for these pages or for the exclusion of two thirds of the flowers, or why dragonflies, ladybugs, and frogs are included. The index is organized numerically, as the flowers appear in the book. There is not enough systematic information included to make this title useful as a guide to wildflowers, and the pictures of fields of flowers, no matter how pretty, do not justify purchasing the book.-Tina Smith Entwistle, Oakley Park Elementary School, MI
Beautifully designed and illustrated, this guide to wildflowers captivates the eyes, though it provides little information on the plants. The format is unusual: the book begins with two wordless double-page paintings, close-ups of wildflowers and children observing. The next spreads include paintings of flowers and garden animals facing a page of information on the flora and fauna. The book concludes with four pages that show each wildflower again, along with its Latin name, plant family, height, season, and meaning, if any (snowdrops equal consolation). The book's audience is problematic. Although the balance of illustration to text seems to indicate young children, it's hard to say what they would make of comments like, "Dandelion/ "Taraxacum officinale"/ The young greens of the dandelion are now commonly used in salads, but they were also used by herbalists (the "officinale" in its name) as a diuretic and a cathartic." The book's strength lies in the beauty of this Belgian artist's watercolor paintings of children and wildflowers, but even these may appeal more to adults. Lovely, but for larger collections.