Reading children’s books is great way to learn more about pollinators. Afterwards, do some of the activities suggested below.
But first, what is pollination and what is a pollinator?
Pollination is an essential process that allows plants to grow healthy fruit and seeds. Scientifically, pollination occurs when pollen (the colorful powdery dust) is moved from male part (anther) of a flower to the female part (stigma) of the same or another flower.
A pollinator carries the pollen from flower to flower so that pollination happens. Although when we hear the word “pollinator” we generally think of bees, many different animals act as pollinators.
In No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, and illustrated by Nicole Wong young readers learn that cacao trees need the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters to survive: a pollen-sucking midge (previous post), an aphid-munching anole lizard, and brain-eating coffin fly maggots. Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.
In Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine and illustrated by Masha D’yans a snarky purple cactus narrator explains why plants “talk” to animals via their flowers and how they entice the animals to carry their pollen from place to place.
POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Peter Willis reveals how long it may take for science to find an answer to a problem. In 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids. When he saw one of the flowers, the Madagascar star orchid, he wondered how insects could pollinate it, and he made some predictions that it was a moth.
Fast forward 130 years. In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. Would they pollinate the orchid as Darwin had predicted?
Although it is more about who and what eats flies, 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich and illustrated by David Clark features some flies that pollinate plants (previous review).
A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond showcases twelve North American butterflies―from the familiar eastern tiger swallowtail to the rare Palos Verdes blue butterfly―and the ecosystems that support their survival.
A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond features twelve types of North American bats, from the familiar little brown bat to the Mexican free-tailed bat.
Check the Pollinator Week resources page for bee identification guides, puzzles, posters, instructions for building a bee house, and more.
Disclosure: One of the books mentioned above was provided by the publisher. The rest were from the library or are my personal copies. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Narrated by the snarky purple cactus you see on the cover, Flower Talk explores why plants “talk” to animals via their flowers and how they entice the animals to carry their pollen from place to place.
After establishing why plants need animals to help them,
“What would you do if your legs were stuck in the ground for your entire life?”
Levine goes into details about how the different flower colors attract different kinds of pollinators. She also notes that plants with green flowers, like grasses, “aren’t talking to anyone.” They are wind pollinated.
Masha D’yans’ amazing digitally-enhanced watercolor illustrations add just the right amount of fun to keep kids entranced.
Although the text has humorous fictional touches, the extensive back matter is serious. “More About Pollinators” has detailed scientific illustrations of flower parts and explains all the nuts-and-bolts of how pollination works. Other sections cover how to help protect pollinators and where to find out more about plants and pollinators.
Flower Talk is perfect for kids who love fiction as well as for kids who prefer nonfiction. Pick up a copy and find out what the “talk” is all about.
Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (March 5, 2019)
Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.