This is a book allegedly aimed at 6-12 year olds but I found it suited me fine. Each year I tell myself, with less and less conviction each year, that I’ll learn a few more plants and I try, but somehow each Spring finds me re-learning the same species over again. This simple photographic guide has the great advantage that it deals with only a few more than 100 species, common ones, and so it concentrates on what I am most likely to find and ignores the rest.
Moreover, the species are arranged by habitat so that one can turn to a sensible shortlist very quickly. For people of a short attention span, a few children and me, if the species I am looking at in the countryside isn’t immediately to be found in the book then that’s just fine. I can either take a photo and go through the agony of selecting which of the dozens of similar-looking species it is when I get home, or, more likely I can enjoy it, whatever its name and then forget about it.
My back garden hosts roughly a quarter of the plants in this book but I might add a few more through careful observation and reflection this Spring and Summer – but then again, I might not.
The book has plenty of good-enough photographs and the text is pared down to what is most useful and least confusing. The text and design exude a friendly openness that some botanists could do well to emulate. It’s of a size that it could live in a car’s glove pocket, and be slipped into a rucksack or pocket for a walk and even if never looked at would not seem a burden to carry.
A good book for adults to use with children or for serial adult plant-forgetters to use on their own.
Out and About, Discovering British Wild Flowers by Deidre Shirreffs is published by Brambleby Books.[registration_form]