Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color To Communicate

illus. by Masha D'yans. 32p. diag. further reading. Lerner. Mar. 2019. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781541519282.
PreS-K—A crotchety cactus explains how flowers use color, shape, and even smell to attract pollinators. Flowers aren't talking to humans; they're talking to animals, those animals that can help them make their seeds through pollination. The text covers only cross-pollination; self-pollination is mentioned in the back matter. The narrator reveals which pollinators are attracted to what: red colors for birds; blue, purple, and yellow for bees; a perfumed white for moths and bats; stinky brown for flies; and a nice steady platform in many colors for butterflies. Green flowers appear on plants pollinated by wind. And the cactus adds, "Blue and purple flowers are saying: 'Yo, bee! Could you help me move some of this pollen? And take some home for the kids!' " D'yans's watery paintings are especially appropriate for the subject, providing realistic variations in shading and revealing a gentle humor—the cactus drinks tea with a tea bag hanging rakishly from an ear; a bee has blossoms instead of stars in its eyes. For older readers, back matter explains pollination in more detail, with illustrations of pistils and stamens and developing seeds in the flower's ovary. A final note explains that some pollinators are endangered and suggests ways to help. There's also a short list of further reading.
VERDICT Similar to Rita Gray's Flowers Are Calling, with a slightly more prickly appeal. Consider this a strong choice for most nonfiction shelves.

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