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PRETTY TRICKY by Etta Kaner Kirkus Star


The Sneaky Ways Plants Survive

by Etta Kaner ; illustrated by Ashley Barron

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-77147-369-9
Publisher: Owlkids Books

Over a dozen plants—each with an unusual adaptation in terms of defense, reproduction, or food supply—are presented in colorful double-page spreads with fascinating information.

A beautifully rendered table of contents features a passionflower vine winding across its aquamarine pages and indicates three chapters that divide plants into the categories mentioned above. The introduction, which sports a brilliantly colored flytrap against bright purple hues, is clear and concise, ending with this sentence: “Prepare to be surprised as you ‘leaf’ through the pages of this book!” Throughout, the text continues to be conversational and humorous, although liberal with rhetorical questions and exclamation points. Each short chapter begins with a double-page spread that mentions characteristics typical to most plants, an excellent segue into the atypical facts to come. For example, after a brief explanation of pollination, readers learn that snapdragons ensure that any creature sipping their nectar will also acquire pollen to take to the next blossom. How? Tiny flies Kaner calls “ ‘cheater’ insects” are not heavy enough to push down the lower “lip” and access nectar, but big, heavier bumblebees get access—and get covered with pollen to spread around, too. Readers are introduced to concepts including symbiosis and photosynthesis as well as the inspiration for Velcro. The layout is excellent, and the collages are extraordinary. For best results, start at the beginning, but read only one or two pages a day; there’s lots of information here.

Plant this one on your bookshelf.

(sources) (Informational picture book. 6-9)