Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts

Early Book Review: Northeast Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 111 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness by Liz Neves

Northeast Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 111 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness by Liz Neves is currently scheduled for release on May 26 2020. It is a guide to finding, identifying, harvesting, and using 111 of the region’s most powerful wild plants. Readers will learn how to safely and ethically forage, and how to use wild plants in herbal medicines including teas, tinctures, and salves. Plant profiles include clear, color photographs, identification tips, medicinal uses and herbal preparations, and harvesting suggestions. Lists of what to forage for each season makes the guide useful year-round. Thorough, comprehensive, and safe, this is a must-have for foragers, naturalists, and herbalists in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Northeast Medicinal Plants is a well organized and detailed guide. I like that the book takes the time to explain some of the most important, and sometimes ignored, factors of identifying and gathering plants, like making sure you have permission before harvesting from private property. The explanations of the use, preparation, and  the aspects of the plants that aid in identification. Even though I have made my own tinctures and grown my own ingredients in the past I found the information to be laid out in an accessible manner that lends itself to being referred back to as desired. I liked that the basics never read in a condescending tone, which sometimes happens when someone tries to talk about things that are second nature to them but might be new to others. I also liked that the importance of understand the nature of each plant is stressed, as some as very poisonous, some have very useful roots but problematic leaves or stems, and so on. The details about the individual plants and their use to be well done and comprehensive, and I learned quite a bit about some of my favorite, and least favorite, plants that can be found in my backyard and surrounding areas. I also really enjoyed that Neves included and comprehensive list of references and resources, as dedicated readers and wildcraft enthusiast can further expand their understanding and possibly lend a hand with conservation. I also found the photography to be very well done and worth enjoying in its own right.

Northeast Medicinal Plants is a valuable resource for anyone that is interested in the wild herbs of the area, and how to use them. I think it would be a good addition to public libraries and for the personal libraries of those that are interested in the subject matter.

Early Book Review: Something Wonderful by Matt Ritter, Nayl Gonzalez

Something Wonderful, written  by Matt Ritter and illustrated by Nayl Gonzalez, is a children's nonfiction picturebook that is currently scheduled for release on April 22 2020. 
This educational and interactive picture book immerses the reader in the strange and interwoven lifecycles of a tropical fig tree in the rainforest, and the tiny insects and colorful creatures that call it home. The delectable fig fruit is hungrily eaten by a passing toucan who, upon flight, aimlessly drops a seed from its poop into the treetops below, beginning the fig’s lifecycle once again. Discover additional scientific information about the pollination process, insects, and animals found in the story in an illustrated section at the end of the book. Readers can play a “seek and find” game of locating the elusive red-eyed tree frog on each page of the story. Take a journey, from the tiny to the grandiose, while making your way through the tropical rainforest on the path to uncover Something Wonderful…
Something Wonderful is a picturebook that informs and entertains. The life cycle of the fig is odd, and while I knew bits of it, which honestly has me less than eager to actually eat a fig, but I learned much more here. I liked the balance of text on each page, and the information was interesting and well worded. I appreciated the artwork, and thought that the book is worth a look just for the images in the book. I liked the hunt for the tree frog on each page, it adds a layer of inter-activeness that will keep readers interested and engaged. I think this book will appeal to a number of readers, would be a good addition to libraries and classrooms as well as personal collections. 

Book Review: Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf puts the spotlight on 50 of the best houseplants you can grow in your dim or dark apartment. Having a south-facing window doesn’t always guarantee you the best light to grow plants—especially if your window faces an alley or a tree-lined street. What’s the point of growing an urban jungle if tall buildings are blocking all your sunshine? This compact guide, designed to look as good on your shelf as it is useful, will help you learn how to make the most of your light so you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of living with plants. Detailed profiles include tips on watering your plants just right, properly potting them, and troubleshooting pests and diseases. You’ll also learn which plants are safe to keep around your pets.
Grow in the Dark is an informative read for those looking to keep their house plants alive, and to figure out what plants will best survive in your available spaces. The information is well organized and laid out in accessible segments with some labeled images to break up the amount of text. I found the information to be well researched and useful, but lacking the conversational tone or humor that I tend to enjoy woven through such reference material to make the read slightly less dense. This is more a point of personal preference that ban issue, I am sure there are those that prefer this straightforward style. I think this book is a good reference for readers to have handy when planning their plant purchasing and placement, or for interior designers to reference when planning to add plant life to a space. However, I think it is a better purchase for a library or professional that might regularly need the information than for a personal library. 

Book Review: The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals by Maia Toll, Katherine O'Hara


The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals is a guide written by Maia Toll, with illustrations by Katherine O'Hara. Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. The symbolism of plants — whether in the ancient Greek doctrine of signatures or the Victorian secret language of flowers — has fascinated us for centuries. Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll adds her distinctive spin to this tradition with profiles of the mysterious personalities of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers. Combining a passion for plants with imagery reminiscent of tarot, enticing text offers reflections and rituals to tap into each plant’s power for healing, self-reflection, and everyday guidance. Smaller versions of the illustrations are featured on 36 cards to help guide your thoughts and meditations.

The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals is a lovely book for both exploring to expand your knowledge and understanding of herbs, and to narrow in on a certain plant and better understand it. I like that the book explains the path to knowledge that led to the book I also really enjoyed the artwork, beautiful regardless of if it is there to decorate a section's beginning or to illustrate the herb being explained and explored. As someone that grows their own herbs and enjoys explore their uses, understands that most medicine began with the basics of herbal knowledge, and the belief in science and study I found the idea and approach of this book to resonate with me on several levels. For those looking for a new way to center themselves or meditate these rituals could be just what they are looking for. Since I was reading a digital copy I did not have the botanical cards, and so did not got to try the layouts and ideas offered at the end of the book for their use. However, I did like the ideas for rituals and the new ways of looking at some of my favorite herbs, and some that I had never thought too much about. 
This book is exactly what you would expect from the title, and has lovely illustrations alongside the text throughout the entire book. If this is the type of information and ritual that hold interest for you, this book will be a valuable addition to your library. 

Book Review: Plantopedia: A Celebration of Nature's Greatest Show-Off by Adrienne Barman

Plantopedia: A Celebration of Nature's Greatest Show-Off by Adrienne Barman offers readers a collection of amazing plants from all over the world, chosen for their unique traits and characteristics, with fun illustrations by Adrienne Barman. Meet the 'evergreens', the 'edibles' and the 'elderly' plants that have outlived the dinosaurs in this alphabetically-ordered encyclopedia. Filled with fascinating flowers, curious crops and wonderful weeds, this book will keep young explorers busy for hours. 
Plantopedia: A Celebration of Nature's Greatest Show-Off is a well organized and amusingly illustrated collection of plants from around the room. The books are grouped in to eclectic groups based on color or other important characteristics. Some of the groups include big eaters, air fresheners, poisoners, rock plants, dyes, impostors, salads, and tasty fruits. While I would not call it encyclopedic in any way I found the grouping to be well done although it is far from complete. I think the cute illustrations and small bits of additional information could capture the attention of young readers. While I enjoyed some of the images and labeled pictures, I was not impressed with the selection, but think it could be interesting for young readers with a love of plants.  

Early Book Review: Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers by Leslie F Halleck

Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers by Leslie F Halleck is currently scheduled for release on July 11 2018. This book is a resource that gives information on just about everything a gardener or hobbyist needs to know to garden indoors. Part One of the book starts with the basics of photosynthesis, the science of light, and how to accurately measure how much light a plant needs. Part Two gives an overview of the most up-to-date tools and gear available. Parts Three and Four offer tips and tools for growing popular ornamental and edible plants independent of the constraints of volatile outdoor conditions.
Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers is an extremely detailed and informative book. As someone who has had terrible luck with indoor growing, but much better results with outdoor growing. I thought some of the information was a little overkill- like the full explanation of photosynthesis, which I remember quite well from previous science classes- but I understand that knowing the whys make implementing the strategies much easier to understand. There is a lot to take in, and I think that readers that are looking for quick answers to questions like "how can I best grow this inside" and "why did this plat die" will be a little overwhelmed or frustrated. However, readers that are more interested in the science and technical reasons for the hows and whys of growing plants inside will be very happy. I would suggest tackling this book like any serious non fiction book or reference guide, giving yourself time to process the information and digest it rather than just quickly flipping through the pages looking for a specific hint to help you, or simply worded answer or solution.

Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers is a well organized and helpful resource to new and experienced gardeners alike. It is very dense with facts, and not really for those looking for a quick read. 

Book Review: Ninja Plants: Survival and Adaptation in the Plant World by Wiley Blevins

Ninja Plants: Survival and Adaptation in the Plant World by Wiley Blevins is a non fiction book for children and adults. What can communicate but has no mouth, and can attack but has no hands? A plant! You might love the beauty and fragrance of flowers, but plants are far more complex than meets the eye. Some plants have ways of luring insects for pollination. Others mimic the look of the female insects whose male counterparts they want to attract. The Venus flytrap eats insects and other small animals for extra nourishment. You might see some of these ninja plants with their sneaky and deceitful ways in your own backyard. These plants might even be sitting on a windowsill in your home. This fascinating world of ninja plants is waiting to be discovered.

Ninja Plants: Survival and Adaptation in the Plant World is a well-written and organized book that informs and entertains. I have always been fascinated by plants, the more unusual the better. This book feed that curiosity and taught be a few new things along the way. I think it is fairly text heavy, but there are some stunning images through out the pages to break up the information. The text and images were interesting and informative- holding my interest and exploring the wide variety of plants around the world that have adapted in dangerous and amazing ways to survive. I really enjoyed the conclusion, and think it a valuable read. 

Due to the amount and difficulty of the text I think  Ninja Plants: Survival and Adaptation in the Plant World would be best suited for middle grade or older readers. Younger readers that are advanced or very interested in the material would be engaged and enjoy the read as well. There are some very interesting, sometimes funny or gross, bits of information that will keep the motivated or engaged reader turning the pages and reading. A good resource and read for school and public libraries.