A Flower is a Friend
A Flower is a Friend
Dance with the wind.
What draws a beetle to a magnolia?
Beetles: For millions of years beetles have been drawn to the spicy scent of magnolias. Beetles crawl around the wide-open flower with its tough skin, nibble its pollen and spread it around.
Within the familiar colourful array of blooms in a mixed flower bed lies a wonderful invitation to embrace science. We’ve all seen the variety of animals that call such an environment home. But have we considered why they are there, and what they are doing? Follow the little mouse into this delightful picture book that offers valuable scientific insights by arousing, in the earliest readers, a sense of wonder for nature.
In a dozen examples that encompass morning to night, the symbiosis between flowers and the small creatures that interact with them is shown in delicate, glowing digitally created images. They are paired with minimal text: a verb and noun that describe the relationship (e.g. kiss a butterfly), and a question (e.g. why do butterflies and zinnias love being together?). Pause to consider some reasons, take a guess, explore what you may already know—and simply enjoy the vibrant illustrations. And then turn to the back matter for facts about the biological interactions that keep an ecosystem functioning. Each creature (insect, spider, bird, reptile, amphibian, gastropod, mammal) is brought into sharp focus here, shown within the lens of a magnifying glass. Their mutualistic roles are briefly detailed. With this small sample of knowledge, the curious reader might then wonder what would happen if the creatures weren’t there? From this early hint at the vital nature of biodiversity, further understandings might result.
There is ample opportunity in this simple book for reader involvement: the questions posed throughout make A Flower is a Friend a gentle interactive exercise, and a double spread flower garden illustration invites a search for the friends of flowers sprinkled among the blossoms. Enjoy both quiet moments with the pictures and the fun of discovery with the text in this thoughtful book.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in British Columbia.