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10 Plants That Shook The World


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About the Author

Gillian Richardson has written more than a dozen children's books, including "Kaboom! Explosions of All Kinds." She lives near Sorrento, British Columbia. Kim Rosen's illustrations have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including "The New Yorker," "The Atlantic," and "The Washington Post." She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.


Papyrus, pepper, tea, sugarcane, cotton, cacao, cinchona, rubber, potato, and corn: Richardson provides brief but incisive profiles of these 10 plants, explaining their cultural and scientific significance. Each section opens with a drawing of the plant (paired with an overview of its growing habits, history, and uses), followed by a historical interlude (a visit to the Boston Tea Party in the tea section, for instance), and a more detailed exploration of the plant's importance and influence ("Today, it's estimated that we eat at least our weight in sugar annually"). With bold, lively caricatures from Rosen throughout, it's an intriguing and well-designed study of the ways plants have helped start wars, cure diseases, and advance technology. Ages 10-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 5-8-Richardson explores the interrelationships of 10 plants with worldwide politics, medicine, and culture. Each chapter begins with a fictional character's story and then describes the natural history of the plant; its importance to humans; and how it was grown, processed, and used over time. Although often associated only with paper, papyrus was valued as a versatile contributor to daily life in ancient Egypt-from food to rope, blankets, baskets, sails, sandals, and medicine. The politics surrounding tea and rubber are sketched in, with the Boston Tea Party tax protest as just one example of the role tea has played in American, British, and Chinese history. Rubber likewise played a vital part throughout history, from the ancient Mayan's deadly ball games to 19th-century horticultural espionage involved in sneaking seeds from Brazil to Great Britain. Imaginative, full-color drawings appear on almost every page, and photographs amplify the text throughout. A double-page world map provides an overview of where these plants originated, and a two-page index links readers to details within each chapter. This title will be useful for reports and provide fun browsing and reading as well.-Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Each of the chosen 10 has its own chapter in which the author adroitly weaves science with social studies in a format that always encourages readers to learn more.--J.B. Petty"Booklist Online" (04/30/2013)
This is education at its best; fun, exciting and a pleasure to read.--Betty Gelean"Edwards Book Club" (05/27/2013)
The beautiful balance between straight expository (fact based) text, creative nonfiction, lists and artwork found in this book is rarely accomplished so well.--Nicole Rivera"" (05/09/2013)
Imaginative, full-color drawings appear on almost every page, and photographs amplify the text throughout. A double-page world map provides an overview of where these plants originated, and a two-page index links readers to details within each chapter. This title will be useful for reports and provide fun browsing and reading as well.--Frances E. Millhouser"School Library Journal" (07/01/2013)
Loaded with fascinating facts and stories about each plant.--Brenda Hoerle"Waterloo Region Record" (04/06/2013)
The content is interesting and engaging yet the book holds lots of visual appeal as well. The illustrations and images are wonderfully created with soft muted colours. The layout of the book is also well thought out with a good use of white space. Text and images fill the page without being too text heavy or busy. While intended for young readers (probably older elementary or middle school), adult readers might find that they learn a thing or two as well. Incredibly well-researched and beautifully illustrated, 10 Plants that Shook the World is sure to pique everyone's interest. Highly Recommended.--Michelle Brown, librarian, Faculty of Education, U"CM" (09/06/2013)
A treat to read no matter what age you are... Each section begins with a fact sheet on the plant and its place of origin, various "pros and cons" associated with the species (which might involve nutritional benefits versus environmental issues), followed by a one-page short story designed to pique the reader's interest. The bulk of the chapters then flesh out how the world has been affected by the spread of items, such as corn or rubber, which underpin modern civilization. Richardson is a fine writer and the text is accompanied by vibrant illustrations. There are useful maps, as well as a bibliography, a suggested further reading section and an index.--George Sheppard"Canadian Teacher" (05/01/2014)
This would be a great addition to any middle school library or classroom as a stand-alone resource.--George Sheppard"Canadian Teacher Magazine" (04/01/2014)
Sugarcane, rubber, pepper, cacao, cotton, tea, papyrus, corn, potato, and cinchona have something in common: their influence on human culture. Gillian Richardson explores the history and value of these plants in 10 Plants That Shook the World. Facts, stories, and sidebars combine with photographs and folk art in this intriguing book for middle grade readers. (She) integrates the discovery, politics, science, economics, agriculture, and technology behind the featured plants. Each engaging chapter offers both "pros" (cinchona bark for the treatment of deadly malaria) and "cons" (the role of slavery and child labor in the growth of cotton). Reference to ancient times (using BCE terminology) and religious practice (such as the Mayans' worship of corn as a gift from the gods) are presented alongside modern concepts such as "biorespecting," deforestation, and genetic modification. 10 Plants That Shook the World is a fascinating read on many levels; adults as well as students would surely find the information noteworthy and the back-stories compelling. Kim Rosen's bold illustrations have a dramatic quality. Each page is a colorful array of text and graphics that invite the reader to peruse and revisit. Plant origins are displayed on a two-page world map, and references for further reading are included along with a detailed index.--Nina Ditmar"Christian Library Journal" (06/05/2014)

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