Fantastic Flowers and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Flowers, by Susan Stockdale: Peachtree Publishers, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 2-5.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring, and a host of new non-fiction books are popping up like a field of crocuses and daffodils. Fantastic Flowers is a charmingly playful presentation of seventeen flowers found across the globe, and Stockdale’s bubbly illustrations are a lively match for the simple, lyrical descriptions–the Mediterranean bumblbee orchid that graces the front cover looks like a pair of magenta smiling honeybees, and other flowers resemble baboons, ballerinas, and pineapples. The book gently introduces young readers to the concept of object identification and encourages close observation skills, while back matter offers further scientific explanation about plants and pollinators.

Fantastic Flowers offers cheerful anticpiation for the forthcoming season. 

Text and art copyright 2017 Susan Stockdale. Reproduced with permission from Peachtree Publishers. 


Seeing Spots – Thursday quickpicks

We found three picture books full of circles, spots and dots that will have readers seeing stars!

Spectacular Spots, by Susan Stockdale; Peachtree Publishers, $15.95, 32 pages, ages 1-5.

Gliding snails, snakes and slugs all have spots, and in this charming follow-up to Susan Stockdale’s Stripes of All Types readers also learn the purpose of these shapes. Large and cheerful paintings of all sorts of animals are accompanied by short easy-to-follow rhymes.  A cute matching game rounds out this sweet introduction to spotted creatures.

Spots in A Box, by Helen Ward; Templar Books, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 2-5.

British National Art Library Award winner Helen Ward’s longstanding love of illustrating charming critters (Town Mouse and Country Mouse; Varmints) continues in this story about a spotless guinea fowl. Feeling left out, the plucky bird sends away for spots of his own, and what arrives aren’t exactly what he had anticipated. Spots in A Box is a sensory feast – Ward’s tight prose and trademark watercolors are as meticulous as ever, accompanied by paper cutouts and spots that feel like pressed sequins. A tour de force.

Information Graphics: Space, by Simon Rogers, illustrated by Jennifer Daniel; Big Picture Press, $17.99, 80 pages, ages 8-12.  

The latest addition to the neon-hued fact-filled Information Graphics series deals with the universe.  Seven tabbed sections cover everything from explaining the solar system to how humans explore space. Dynamic duo Simon Rogers (author of the Guardian’s Datablog) and New York Times designer Jennifer Daniel have made studying the heavens an enlightening endeavor filled with fun.