Fungarium: Welcome to the ­Museum

Candlewick/Big Picture. (­Welcome to the Museum). Apr. 2021. 80p. Tr $35. ISBN 9781536217094.
Gr 10 Up–This beautifully illustrated title is a detailed survey of all types of fungi. It is not only detailed but close to academic and scientific in its approach. It is certainly not an introduction to fungi and the language expects the reader to be fully informed on specific botanical terms and ideas. The work uses the concept of entering a fungi museum, a “Fungarium.” There are chapters and details on an amazing number of fungi and many chapters discuss specific biomes and the fungi that live there. The concept of a museum is highlighted in the incredible illustrations. They are featured on a page and then the following page gives the common name, scientific name, and many details. These illustrations would be captivating to any reader interested in science and botany. The limiting aspect of this title is the text. While detailed and offering an overwhelming amount of information, it is clearly written for a student already familiar with many botanical concepts. An example of this in the section on growth reads, “All filamentous fungi are made from narrow, cylindrical tubes called hyphae.” While this is accurate, even high school students might have difficulty understanding. The creators of this book are passionate about fungi and desire to share their information and, perhaps, encourage students to pursue this discipline. The illustrations will draw readers in but the text will not.
VERDICT A detailed scientific survey of fungi with incredible illustrations but overly detailed text. For advanced readers only.

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