'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Review: Botanicum

Following on from the magnificent Animalium, Katie Scott has created another tome of pure visual wonder, with exquisitely researched text crafted by Professor Kathy Willis.

A large format book in the Welcome to the Museum series (please let there be more!), just like Animalium, opening this books makes you feel as though you've tripped and fell into another world--in this case, the depths of a National Botanic Garden.

Botanical bliss.

Lustrously illustrated, Scott has hand-rendered each and every plant in ink before applying digital colour. The result is smooth, striking and eye-popping in its detail and whimsy. My sofa has provided the perfect snuggle spot for endless hours of ogling this incredible artwork, which has been styled on classic botanical artworks, with a modern twist.
The book begins with an introduction then takes us through seven galleries:
  • The First Plants
  • Trees
  • Palms and Cycads
  • Herbaceous Plants
  • Grasses, Cattails, Sedges and Rushes
  • Orchids and Bromeliads
  • Adapting to Environments

Each chapter is sheer delight in its detail and fascinating facts, takings us from the beginnings of life on this planet to modern day. Plants are presented plate-style, with reference numbers to accompanying annotations.

Divine endpapers and chapter header pages feature block colour versions of the artwork within, washed white against darker backgrounds--mimicking classic wallpapers of yesteryear.

The opening spread--or Tree of Life (below)--is an astonishing visual showing us the origins of plants, then branching ('scuse the pun) into various families, species and genera. I found this utterly fascinating, wandering the branches to discover where and how plants came to be, from algaes to vascular plants, seed plants, angiosperms, monocots and more.

Although this is a sophisticated book in terms of information and text, Botanicum is something that would attract children of all ages, though age 6 and up might find it most fascinating.

Stunning beautiful and utterly mesmerising.

Title: Botanicum
Author: Kathy Willis 
Illustrator: Katie Scott
Publisher: The Five Mile Press, $39.95
Publication Date: 1 September 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781760403423
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Compendium