HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: What’s Inside of Plants?
Author: Herbert Spencer Zim
Illustrator: Herschel Wartik
Publisher: William Morrow, 1952
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 6-10
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Zim, Herbert Spencer. What’s Inside of Plants? (published in 1952 by William Morrow and Company, New York City, NY). When I was in school, we studied two kingdoms in science—animal and plant. Biologists today have all kinds of kingdoms, but the plant kingdom is still a major one. When our boys were in second grade, their homeschool science curriculum had a unit on plants, and we checked this classic book out of the library to give our older son Mark some extra reading to accompany his study of plants. It defines the structure and insides of fruit, flowers, seeds, vegetables, stems, and leaves, describing how each nourishes itself, thus making the subject of plant morphology understandable for early readers. Herbert S. Zim was a prolific writer of children’s science books, such as Toads and Owls.
One of a then-new series of “Morrow junior books” with a change of format and an approach for even younger readers, What’s Inside of Plants? talks about plants in general, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds, and the ways in which plants grow. Pages of bold colorful diagrams by Herschel Wartik alternate with a page of easy reading text in large type. The illustrations from familiar plants provide recognition value as well as an easy classification of types from root to flower to fruit. Then there is a page of double column text which is more difficult and enlarges on the explanations previously given by providing the necessary facts about the organs and systems and their attendant functions. Other books by Zim in the series include What’s Inside of Me? and What’s Inside of the Earth? These are older but still have good information.