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Turning my calendar from July to August is always a bit melancholy. The first half of summer is over and I’m keenly aware of how quickly the second half will go.

With a sense of urgency, I find myself outdoors, wanting to spend every second I can basking in sunlight and blue sky before it’s gone. Since August is not the ideal time to undertake major garden projects, I am content to deadhead, weed and water and spend a good amount of time relaxing. What better place to indulge in a good book?

When my kids were little, regular trips to the library were a part of our routine. When we found a particularly special book, my husband and I would purchase it for our home library. I always placed an emphasis on gardening and nature books in hopes that I would plant the seeds of gardening in my little charges.

I’m happy to report that all four of my adult children are plant and nature lovers and each of them gardens when they can. While there are no grandkids yet, I still keep my eyes open for children’s books. Recently I was asked if I would like to review two new children’s nature-themed books published by Prestel Press in London. Of course, I said yes.

“The Seedling that Didn’t Want to Grow” is written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. It is the sweet story of a seed that is slow to emerge, not exactly like the other seeds in its world. Still, it becomes a plant and grows, reaching toward sunlight and becoming a beautiful specimen in its own right. And maybe most importantly, the seed has its fauna friends to cheer on its journey. Beautifully illustrated with stamped art, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the heart. I’m guessing the text is at a second- or third-grade reading level so it can be good for an out loud story time or independent reading.

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The second book is called “Flower Power: the Magic of Nature’s Healers,” written by Christine Paxmann and illustrated by Olaf Hajek. At a child’s level, this book discusses the history of medicine back in the days before our current medical system, when wise men and women used plants to help humans heal. The author digs into specific flowers and plants such as the poppy, the iris, the marigold and many more. She teaches us the history of discovery and usages of the flowers and plants up to current day. One page is devoted to each specimen and includes a bit of interesting folklore. For example regarding the artichoke, she wrote, “Cynara is the Latin name for the artichoke and is named after a Greek nymph with whom Zeus, the father of the gods, fell in love. She did not want him, however, and in revenge he was turned into an artichoke. Do you think the hair at the center of every artichoke has something to do with Cynara?”

It’s worth mentioning that “Flower Power” is illustrated by award-winning German artist Olaf Hajek. His elaborate, surreal illustrations are a colorful mix of folk art and whimsy, a perfect companion for Ms. Paxmann’s narrative.

Both books are available on Amazon.

On my blog, I’m continuing with my Plant of the Week series. Please visit and say hello. I’d love to hear from you: https://gracepete.blogspot.com/. ☸

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