Thursday, April 25, 2013

10 Plants that Shook the World by Gillian Richardson

Illustrated by Kim Rosen
Published by Annick Press

Gillian Richardson has done a great deal of research and interviews in writing this amazing book. She clarifies what you might know and tells  you what you don't know about the history of these plants. Though a grandmother, I learned more than I expected from this book that is geared mostly to school children, something I always look for in a book--something new. The illustrations are fun and will add to the pleasure for young readers.

I would not have guessed pepper was once worth as much as gold, nor that corn in its original form could have been around 80,000 years ago. Not only that but how important corn has been, not just for eating but in so many products used in the past century.

There is a lot of human history, not always happy, packed into this book along with the history of these ten plants. This is education at its best; fun, exciting and a pleasure to read. There is a Map of Plant Origins, Bibliography and other suggested reading. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the way plants have changed the world, be it in food, industry or medicine. Who knows? Maybe a young reader will become an ethnobotanist!

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