The Green Planet
Leisa Stewart- Sharpe, illustrated by Kim Smith
(Penguin Random House)- hardback
‘All around us, plants are busy taking in light, breathing out oxygen and releasing water’… The Green Planet coincides with the release of the BBC television series of the same name, from Sir David Attenborough. It examines how plants work ‘their magic’ upon the Earth, from roots that absorb water, to the oxygen generated ‘back into the air through the leaves’.
The book opens by describing the different ways that plants reproduce, from spores, to pollen or cloning. Thereafter, in a bold portrait page, we reach to the skies, like the trees of the rainforest, in the battle for light. It seems ‘competition is fierce‘. What’s more, the rainforest is a place of rich opportunity for new life, hunting, drinking and surviving. While we learn how ‘shrew poo‘ provides nitrogen in the starved Borneo forests, we travel further into ‘tropical worlds‘ to meet a host of different inhabitants. These includes vampires and silverleaf desmodum, bearded pigs and leaf cutter ants. Then again, we move to other settings, from desert worlds, where plants fight for water, to the sands, and water worlds. Along the way, we have a thorough examination of each terrain, its adaptations, inhabitants, struggles and idiosyncrasies.
Like Who Makes a Forest?, The Green Planet is a confident, informed and thorough resource. However, it is also rich and fascinating reading. Bookwagon loves and recommends this magnificent title to all our readers. This is a book that merits a place on bookshelves in places at home, and in classrooms.