QK 917.P37: Q is Science, QK is Botany, QK 900-989 is plant ecology.
Reader’s Annotation: Learn about the main groups of carnivorous (meat-eating plants). Then find out how you can grow your own and what experiments you can do with them.
Plot Summary: Carnivorous plants eat insects (and sometimes even other small animals), although they don’t really eat meat like we do. There are several different varieties, many of which are endangered or threatened. You can grow your own carnivorous plants, and this book gives instructions and tips for growing Venus Fly Traps. It also suggests four experiments in detail, and gives ideas for more. Includes glossary, bibliography and plant source guide.
Critical Evaluation: Carnivorous Plants is clearly written, providing an appropriate level of detail on the subject for the targeted reading level. The section describing different varieties provides good information, but is a little poorly organized; it is difficult to tell if the categories are reflecting scientific taxonomy or the author’s own ideas about classification. The experiments are a little simplistic. They do however operate in a true scientific context; if the experimenter is confused by the results, he or she is encouraged to do it again.
Illustrations: The illustrations are color photographs. The pictures which depict the plants provide a good illustration of each variety’s features. I was disappointed that there were no photographs of the plants in their wild context. The author emphasizes the threat to their habitats, but those habitats are never shown. The pictures in the grow your own and experiments section seem dated. The book was published in 2004, but those photos feel about ten years older.
Reading Level/Interest: 6-11
Curriculum Ties: Biodiversity, Ecology, Plants, Science and Scientists
Booktalking Ideas: Bring in some carnivorous plants
Challenge Issues: N/A (?)
About the Author: Elaine Pascoe has written more than twenty non-fiction books for children. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and was a member of the adjunct faculty at Western Connecticut State University, 1986-87. She has also contributed to the New Book of Knowledge and other encyclopedias. There is a teensy bit more information here: http://us.macmillan.com/author/elainepascoe