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PLANTS FIGHT BACK by Lisa  Amstutz


by Lisa Amstutz ; illustrated by Rebecca Evans

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-58469-673-5
Publisher: Dawn Publications

Running away not being an option, plants have developed an arsenal of defenses against animal attacks.

Pairing notes in prose to rhymed couplets, Amstutz tallies nearly a dozen ways that plants deliver comeuppances to would-be munchers. Most involve poisons or irritants, but strategies also include camouflage (stone plants), coating leaves with sand (sand verbena), or even providing homes for aggressive ants (the whistling thorn acacia). Willows can make their leaves unpalatable to tent caterpillars; cotton attacked by insect pests sends a chemical invitation to wasps; and woe betides a bug that lands among sticky geraniums, which “make oodles of thick, sticky glue. / Intruders soon find themselves trapped in the goo.” Along with reasonably recognizable plant specimens, Evans depicts otherwise accurately drawn animals, from giraffes to grasshoppers, with comically dismayed expressions as they are stymied. Groups of human figures in painted scenes—of picnickers oblivious to marauding raccoons and a troop of hikers cowering away from nettles and poison ivy—are racially diverse. Select flora and fauna feature in a photo gallery at the end, which is followed by suggestions for STEAM extension activities. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

Lighthearted but cogent fare for young naturalists and foragers.

(Informational picture book. 7-10)