It is now official: the 2015 nominations for the Cybils awards are completed. Let the reading and reviewing begin!
For our first selection we have a delightful picture book nominated in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category, Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak. It introduces children to the relationships between flowers and pollinators.
The reader won’t be able to tell from the elegant cover featuring delicate flowers and a few small animals, but this book is likely to elicit giggles. Using short poems, the author suggests that flowers might be calling to a big animal (one that isn’t interested in flowers at all, hence the giggles), then reveals a little animal that really is attracted to the flower.
Flowers are calling a small brown snake.
No, not a snake for goodness sake!
In my library Flowers Are Calling is shelved in the fiction section, likely because of the fun poems introducing pollinators and flowers. Interspersed between the poems, however, are two-page spreads that give the common names of the flowers and explain some serious scientific details about how their structures relate to their pollinators, placing it squarely in the realm of nonfiction. For example, Gray explains that butterflies like to rest on the flat landing pads of Queen Anne’s lace, whereas only hummingbirds can drink from the deep tubes of the trumpet honeysuckle.
The watercolor and digital media illustrations match the mix of subtle humor and serious facts of the text. The big animals are looser, almost cartoonish, where some of the flowers are highly detailed.
As an aside, often children’s nature books concentrate on species from the northeastern U.S., but Gray also mentions cacti and flowers found in the Southwest. Kudos to the author for appealing to a range of readers even though she lives in New York City.
Pollination is a popular topic right now due to concerns about the decline in numbers of monarch butterflies and honey bees. Flowers Are Calling is a wonderful introduction that children are sure to enjoy and likely even laugh about. Share a copy with your young nature lover today!
At Growing With Science blog we have some plant science activities to investigate flowers.
See another review with activity suggestions at Archimedes Notebook.
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 3, 2015)
Disclosures: This book was provided by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.