Book Review: 10 Plants that Shook the World by Gillian Richardson and Kim Rosen

10 Plants that Shook the World by Gillian Richardson and Kim Rosen is an intriguing look at how a simple plants like pepper, sugar, tea, chocolate, cotton, corn, potatoes, papyrus, cinchona trees, and rubber changed the world as we know it. The changes were not all good, and even the worst changes held some good for people as well. Bright illustrations and fascinating information comes together to show us just how much a simple plant, leafy things growing in the ground with no way to communication, have absolutely changed the world.

10 Plants that Shook the World might change the way you look at the greenery in your back yard, and on the side of the road. Did you know that countries went to war over pepper trade routes, or that a grass called papyrus became the very first effective tool to share information with writing? perhaps you already knew that in the 1600's Europeans cut down rain forests to grow sugar or that cotton might have improved the lives of a few but caused suffering for many more because its role in soil erosion? While corn continues to fuel new technologies and can be found in thousands of products and rubber has revolutionized transportation. Then there are tea and chocolate as big business and related the race for profits while potato caused one of the greatest tragedies in history. Do not forget the fact that the bark of the cinchona tree has saved countless lives from malaria.
The ten plants in this book are the source of profound changes in the world, both good and bad. There are vibrant illustrations and astonishing facts about each of these plants and how people have been affected the world and our lives with the discoveries.

While 10 Plants that Shook the World might be geared toward children, I think that readers of all ages can learn something here. I liked the fact that a broad range of human experiences were included; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the result is a picture that does not judge but offers a look at all sides. It is important for children and adults to remember that even the best moments of history are likely to have a negative aspect as well. There is valuable and interesting information here, and I think it will not only teach all readers something new, but it might inspire them to look a little deeper at the things in our everyday life as well.

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