The Souls of Flowers

Albatros. (Large Encyclopedias). Apr. 2024. 88p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9788000071008.
Gr 5 Up–A stunning compendium of 21 common meadow and garden plants found in Europe and North America, artistically captured by acclaimed Czech botanical painter Kourková. The full-page watercolor depictions of each flower are accompanied by informative and lyrical entries written by Czech writer and editor Mandausová. These essays also include anecdotes and flower meanings. For example, the profile on the Hyacinth shares the origin of its name (Greek mythology), how Mozart wrote an opera about the myth, and that “the gift of a hyacinth means that the giver’s heart belongs to you.” Kourková provides commentary on what each flower means to her and how she felt as she painted it. The work opens with a biography of the botanical artist and her philosophy on painting flowers. An exhortation on respecting flowers also prefaces the collection. The switches between third person and first person are often confusing, but the poetic summaries will draw in botany enthusiasts and artists. Browsers and students alike will be captivated by the lifelike and intricate art done mostly in pastels. The lack of back matter will make it difficult for researchers, but readers interested in plants and language of flowers studies will not mind.
VERDICT This breathtaking collection for budding botanists is a general purchase.

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