Monday, July 25, 2011

Non-Fiction Pick: Wicked Plants:The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities

Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Mysteries
by Amy Stewart
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
233 pages with bibliography

Blogger's Note: I never review non-fiction books--until now! I found this book fascinating and entertaining!

Wickedly entertaining and full of fun facts, this engaging non-fiction book will appeal to non-fiction readers and anyone who has a passion for weird and/or macrabre pearls of wisdom. Did you know that if a human eats only corn in his diet and nothing else, he will develop pellagra--a niacin deficiency? Or that the common spud (potato) is related to the much-maligned deadly nightshade plant?

The author teaches that plants are beautiful but many are deadly. Deadly plants are used in magic, too; for example, in the popular Harry Potter series Professor Snape brews wolfsbane (aconite) to assist Remus Lupin in his transformation to a wolf.

Plants are divided into categories of deadly, intoxicating, illegal, destructive, and dangerous. Deadly plants include corn, rhubarb, red kidney beans, potatoes, and cassava. Plants that we normally eat can make us deathly ill and even cause death in some cases.

Intoxicating plants are the betal nut, wormwood (absinthe), and tequila.
Illegal plants include coca, tabernanthe iboga, and opium poppy.

This entertaining compendium will amuse and enlighten. Even the grass we choose for our yards can be dangerous!

Highly recommended for ages 12-up, grades 6-up. Reluctant readers will find this small book fascinating and a quick read.

FTC required disclaimer: I saw this title at the local bookstore and then saw if offered by the publisher. I received this novel from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

1 comment:

  1. What a great resource for new and overlooked YA literature. This sounds like a female version of Swim the fly. Could not stop laughing out loud. Beat the band is next.
    Lees Summit,MO