FLOWER TALK by Sara C. Levine


How Plants Use Color to Communicate
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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Readers learn the relationship between the colors of flowers and pollination.

With a googly-eyed cactus as her narrator, Levine explains why flowers need help with pollination from animals and why it’s key to the survival of plants. Since most plants need pollen from other plants of their own species to fertilize their seeds, their colors “advertise” their plants’ attraction to pollinating creatures. The text characterizes these adaptations as deception: “We trick them into carrying [pollen] for us. We’re nice about it, though—we pay them a little something for their efforts.” Intriguing facts surface: Red flowers appeal mainly to birds, since insects can’t see red. White flowers, often scented, are luminous to nocturnal moths and bats. The stinky smells of brown flowers lure flies. Green flowers, being wind-pollinated, don’t need to “talk” to animals. Using personification to convey science concepts to children is endemic—and the snarky narration will find fans. Two spreads on flowers that attract bees depict only bumblebees and honeybees, missing an opportunity to give readers a sense of the many families of bees. A labeled flower diagram does not identify the anther—only the pollen that sits atop it. D’yans’ digital-and-watercolor illustrations, while often lovely, emphasize vibrant color and aggregated species arrays, not scientific verisimilitude. The pictured plant and animal species go largely unidentified, leaving readers puzzling.

A casual introduction to the topic, with resources for further study. (pollination facts and diagrams, protecting pollinators, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5415-1928-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2019


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