NONFICTION

Ninja Plants: Survival and Adaptation in the Plant World

96p. bibliog. diag. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Jan. 2017. Tr $35. ISBN 9781512410136.
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Gr 6–8—The catchy title is sure to attract readers. Seven chapters are filled with crystal clear photos and entries on several of the world's most unusual flora. The introduction discusses the role of insects in plant fertilization and the various methods plants use to achieve fertilization. The text goes on to cover the plants' appearances, their relationships to one another, how they reproduce, and the effects of parasites. Extensive use of scientific names adds to the book's authenticity, but there is no pronunciation guide provided. There is a glossary; however, many of the definitions are an almost word-for-word repetition of the main text. The conclusion, which briefly examines the relationship between plants and humans, comes as a bit of a surprise as the tone and focus of the work abruptly shift. The informational text becomes much more speculative and general. Blevins is critical of human overreliance on fossil fuels, the mass production of corn, and, to an extent, livestock farming ("we could feed more people by planting food crops than we could by raising animals on the same land."), but supporting data and sources are absent. The incongruous conclusion will likely need to be supplemented with additional readings.
VERDICT Eye-catching, but a bit uneven. Consider only for collections in need of botanical materials.

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