Here are two titles in a Welbeck Publishing series – thanks to the publisher for sending them for review
Around the World in 80 Trees
Ben Lerwill and Kaja Kajfež
Trees are crucial to life on Earth: they release oxygen. They also provide food, medicine, materials and shelter and since Stone Age times have been prized by humans, some cultures even seeing certain of them as holy. So says Ben Lerwill in his introductory spread for this book.
Then having explained the different kinds of trees (coniferous and broadleaf) and their various parts, with the help of Kaja Kajfež’s gorgeous, detailed illustrations, he takes readers, around the globe to find out about some of 60,000 plus species that are found in the Americas, followed in turn by Africa, Europe and Asia, and finally Oceania. Between each main geographical section are spreads on more general topics – leaves,
roots, pollination, flowers and seeds, and the importance of trees.
Do you know what the oldest tree in the world is, or where it grows? I knew that it’s been named Methuselah but not that it’s the bristlecone pine and has been growing in the White Mountains of California for over 4850 years. In the same state is another record breaker, the coast redwood, the tallest known tree. Other locations visited in this section are the tropical Amazon rainforest and the Andes.
Growing in several parts of the African continent is the mighty baobab, six of the seven species of which I read, can only be found on Madagascar.
Such is the strength of baobab bark that it can be used to make nets, ropes, bags, homes even; and happily the bark that’s ripped off is always replaced by new growth.
Whether you dip in and out of this book or read it straight through, you’ll likely learn something new and exciting; but in conclusion, the author provides a stark reminder that it’s important we all play our part in helping the future health of these wonderful plants.
Around the World in 80 Musical Instruments
Nancy Dickman and Sue Downing
No matter where on earth you might go, you’ll always come across people making music; we might call music-making a universal phenomenon. There are many hundreds of different musical instruments to be found all over the world and they are used for many purposes including for concerts, alongside dancers, in celebrations, for religious ceremonies, and even unfortunately, as a form of intimidation or aggression.
In her account for this book, author Nancy Dickman groups eighty of them under four main headings based on how the instruments make their sounds: percussion instruments, stringed instruments, wind instruments
and a miscellaneous assortment she calls ‘weird and wonderful instruments’. She’s also created a very helpful musical family tree discovered by opening a central gatefold.
We read about the various materials used in the making of the instruments featured in each of the four sections as well as the places in which they are played. Although I’ve seen and heard hundreds of instruments and collected a good many in my travels, I encountered many new to me in this fascinating book with Sue Dowling’s bold illustrations large and small; I’m sure other readers will too.
For school collections and interested individuals from around seven.