Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Little Guide to Wild Flowers

A Little Guide to Wild Flowers

Charlotte Voake
For ages 8 to and up
Random House UK/Eden Project Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-1903919118

Have you ever gone for a ramble through a wood or for a walk along a headland and seen a tiny little flower which was so perfect that you just had to stop and look at it? Have you wondered what the flower was called? Have you ever wondered where the dandelion got its name and why the scarlet pimpernel is sometimes known as 'poor man's weatherglass?' If you are interested in these kinds of questions and have done these sorts of things then this is the book for you.

The book begins with a brief introduction, a section about the seasons, a section about flower structure and types of leaves and then it goes on to explore some of the most commonly seen wild flowers that one is likely to see in gardens, in hedgerows, in woods, and in various other kinds of habitats. The flowers are grouped by color and in addition to her delightful winsome illustrations and wonderful notes and comments the author tells her readers how tall the plant is, where it can be found, when it blooms, its Latin name, and its common family name.

In her comments and notes about the plants the author often describes, among other things, whether the plant has a scent, if it has medicinal or culinary uses, the meaning of its name, which part of the country it is found in, if it is poisonous or not, or if it was thought to have magical properties. Readers will learn all kinds of things about familiar plants which they never knew.

At the back of the book there is a "tick list" which the reader can use to tick off the flowers that he or she sees and there is a scrapbook section for "keeping a record of the wild flowers you see and the places in which you find them." There is plenty of space for sketches and photographs of flowers and for notes about where the sketches and photographs were taken. The author emphasizes how important it is not to pick flowers that are in wild places. Only pick and press flowers that grow in your own garden.