Tales of the Mushroom Folk

Floris. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781782507529.
PreS-Gr 2–The mushroom folk are small elfin creatures who tend to a variety of mushrooms, by family: Fly Agaric Toadstools, Brain Mushrooms, and far more. While botanical-specific scenes show the actual mushrooms, they also show small folk donned in that species’ colors and “hats” resembling the tops of the plant. These families are so fancifully drawn that they make of natural science a fairy-tale-like set of scenes; there are smatterings of facts mixed into how the folk interact with the mushrooms in their care. For educators who find that Aspelin’s illustrations hark back to another time, they are right—this is a 1909 edition complete with warnings in the front of the book about leaving all mushrooms alone to grow and thrive. Back matter lists each family covered with very specific cautions and more specific facts.
VERDICT This is a charming book, perhaps more for adult collectors, although the soft, beautifully detailed illustrations could be paired with Beatrix Potter’s works to show a naturalistic approach in art that combines whimsy and truth.

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