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

Saturday 20 February 2021

Review: Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants

Plantastic! is super fantastic. That’s all I have to say.

No, actually, I’ve got loads more to say!

An exploration of 26 native Australian plants, Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants by Catherine Clowes and Rachel Gyan delivers joy and wonder in an accessible and engaging way.

From Acacia to Zieria, it introduces readers to the beautiful plants of Australia. For each plant you’ll find the common name, scientific name, a super interesting description, pictures, a plantastic fact and a plantastic activity.

The descriptions explore interesting things about each plant that make you think ‘wow’ and ‘cool’ and ‘I didn’t know that’. Some plants are edible, some have medicinal uses, some have killer enemies and some actually kill and consume insects. Yikes! 

Clowes has pulled out the most interesting things about the plants to make the information super appealing to kids, and the language used is very kid friendly. There are some technical terms used, but Clowes explains everything that new plant lovers might not have heard of — a beautiful way of introducing kids to a whole new world of wonder.

The pictures are illustrations rather than photos, which I adore. It’s different and engaging, and it makes you want to run your fingers over every page. There are a few different illustrations for each plant, and they are glorious and detailed. The cover gives you a sneak peek at what to expect. Rachel Gyan, your illustrations warm my heart!

The next thing I love? The plantastic activities turn this book from a simple information exchange to an interactive treasure hunt. They encourage readers to get outside and look for the plants, with notes on special features to look out for.

At the back of the book you’ll find a helpful glossary and the most fabulous map that allows you to look up the location of the plants. You can quickly check which plants grow where you live to start your searching adventures today.

Circling round to the beginning, there is a brilliant ‘how to use this book’ page, which has some really helpful information tailored for young adventures. Clowes provides some great advice about sticking to paths to protect plants, checking before you pick things and ‘taking only pictures, leaving only footprints.’ She also provides important cautions about eating plants if you are unsure of what they are.

Welcoming, encouraging and inspiring, Plantastic! is a book for all. Kids, adults, families, classrooms, this is a book to devour with friends and beautiful inspiration for outdoor adventures in the stunning wilds of Australia.

In Clowes' own words… time to go on a plantastic journey.

p.s - If you are a classroom interested in this book, make sure to check out the detailed and comprehensive teacher notes on the CSIRO Publishing website. They've got you covered with a HUGE range of activities across a range of subjects. 

Title: Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants 
Author: Catherine Clowes
Illustrator: Rachel Gyan
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing, $29.99  
Publication Date: February 2021
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781486313211
For ages: 6 - 12 
Type: Junior Non-Fiction