Spike E. Prickles and his friends show off a wide variety of plant adaptations.
This colorful book opens with an introduction to plant parts and needs—light, water, air, and minerals—and a diagram of photosynthesis. Then, spread by spread, the text introduces complications: plants need water, shade cuts off light, soils may not be ideal, seeds need to travel, hungry bugs and animals are threats, for example. Captioned photographs show numerous examples of plants solving these problems. Four smiling, talking cartoon plants add comments. The style of these digitally created, outlined illustrations will be familiar to readers of Leedy’s many other informational titles for the very young, as will her cheerful approach. The captions use larger fonts to highlight the different coping methods, emphasizing main ideas. The photographs are clear, but they often show only a very small part of the plant, decontextualized. Young readers may lack the background knowledge necessary to figure out just what’s shown. The illustration of a wild banana shows the bananas on a stalk that ends with its flower and is captioned, “Wild bananas have large seeds.” Readers could easily assume the flower is the seed rather than the true seeds invisible inside the fruit.
A strong demonstration of plant powers but a weak teaching tool. (plant projects, glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-8)