Book Review of When Plants Took Over the Planet: The Amazing Story of Plant Evolution
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Chris Thorogood
Illustrated by Amy Grimes
Ages 5+ | 64 Pages
Publisher: Quarto Publishing | ISBN: 9780711261280
What to Expect: Plants, history, biology, evolution, botany
You probably already know all about evolution: dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, and the way humans used to be more like chimpanzees. However, how much do you know about plant evolution? Did you know that there were no flowers and no grass at the time of the dinosaurs? Or that seaweeds were the first plants to evolve on planet Earth, long before plants conquered land? Or that not all plants have roots? Plants are the foundation of all life on Earth, and in When Plants Took Over the Planet, you can find out where they came from and how widely diverse and impressive they can be.
A refreshing departure from endless books on dinosaurs, When Plants Took Over the Planet offers an in-depth exploration of plant evolution. This book covers everything from the evolution of the different families and genera to the evolutionary imperatives that drove the development of familiar features—the colored petals on a rose, the fleshy leaves on a succulent, and the cone-shaped seeds on a conifer.
A table of contents, index, and lots of Latin vocabulary mark the volume as seriously scientific, simultaneously introducing younger readers to the format and characteristics of non-fiction. A “plant safari” at the end of the book invites readers to interact with various plant-based activities. Throughout the book, colorful illustrations are simplistic and detailed enough to make plant identification possible.
When Plants Took Over the Planet: The Amazing Story of Plant Evolution is a fascinating volume and a great introduction to botanical history for young readers.
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About the Author
Dr. Chris Thorogood is a botanist at the University of Oxford and an illustrator and public speaker. Chris’s research interests center on evolutionary genetics, plant taxonomy, and biodiversity hotspots. Specifically, he is interested in the evolution of parasitic and carnivorous plants, as well as taxonomic diversity in biodiversity hotspots, including the Mediterranean Basin region and Japan. Chris won a scholarship in 2005 to carry out his Ph.D. research on speciation in parasitic plants at the University of Bristol, for which he was awarded a Faculty Commendation and the national Irene Manton Prize for best thesis in botany in 2009. Chris is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and a Junior Research Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford.
About the Illustrator
Amy Grimes is a Bristol-based illustrator who graduated from Camberwell College of Art in 2014 with a first in Illustration.
Particularly inspired by nature, especially the colors and textures found there, Amy’s bright and bold illustrations feature botanical motifs and leafy landscapes. Amy’s work is all drawn digitally using an iPad, with hand-painted textures scanned in and added to the illustrations to give them a painterly feel. This digital process allows really bright colors and clean lines to be included in the natural shapes and outlines of each illustration.
Since becoming a full-time freelance illustrator, Amy has worked for clients including Walker Books, Quarto, Radio Times, Macmillan, Tesco, Neon Squid, and more. As well as working on client commissions, Amy sells art prints of her illustrations under the name Hello Grimes.
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed When Plants Took Over the Planet: The Amazing Story of Plant Evolution. Discover more books like When Plants Took Over the Planet by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Botany Books, Biology, Evolution Books, and Non-Fiction.