Pretty Tricky: The Sneaky Ways Plants Survive

Owlkids. Sept. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771473699.
Gr 2-4–This colorful title focuses on a variety of unusual plants that use “trickery” to thrive and survive. The book is divided into three sections: defense mechanisms, reproduction, and nutrition. Each double-page spread highlights a plant, explains how it has accomplished this trickery, and provides a small box with the plant’s name and where it grows in the world. Insects and their habitats receive a lot of attention. This could encourage curious readers to learn more about the featured insects and bugs. The information is quite detailed, but understanding each plant and its abilities will require slow reading and rereading. Part of the problem is the concept of trickery—readers might assume that the plants knowingly use these skills to achieve their goals. Additionally, the small font and dense text might be off-putting to young readers who will need assistance to comprehend many of the details. At the end of the book, readers will find a wonderful, well-labeled diagram that depicts how flowering plants make seeds and how plants make food. Teachers could use this element for a unit on plants or as an example to show students how to create their own diagrams. Barron’s realistic artwork is extraordinary; they appear to be compositions of vibrant backgrounds with imposed collages.
VERDICT Although the text may confuse some young readers, Barron’s stellar artwork is a standout. Her captivating illustrations could motivate readers to further research the featured plants and animals.

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