Plantastic! A to Z of Australian Plants by Catherine Clowes

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While books about Australia's unique fauna abound for readers of all levels, there are fewer that focus on our unique flora and even less for younger readers who are just developing an interest in the plants the populate our landscape.

In this new publication from CSIRO, 26 of our well-known and not-so plants are in the spotlight offering an introduction to things we see daily and those that are not so common yet still readily seen in local environments. Maps pf plant ecoregions enable readers to identify what they are most likely to see where they live. Each double page spread has a similar format with some detailed information using accessible language that speaks directly to the reader ensuring challenging scientific concepts are easily understood such as the exploration of plant classification (families,genera and species) through the analogy of mixed lollies; an interesting fact that goes beyond the scientific nature of the plant; and an activity that encourages the reader to discover more about what they have just read and engage with the plant. There are beautiful biologically accurate watercolour illustrations of each plant and its parts, while the whole has all the necessary elements to encourage easy navigation and information literacy skills. Comprehensive teachers' notes are available spanning a number of the Australian Curriculum areas, including a focus on the use of the plants by indigenous people.

If we are to have our students value our bushland then they must first know what there is to value (and there are pointers about how to explore it so that both explorer and environment stay safe) and so this is a must-have for any library collection and study that has the protection of our habitat at its heart.

Barbara Braxton