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The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“…a lovely presentation of amazing adventures.” ―School Library Journal

“…successfully infuse[s] the image of plant collection with a measure of excitement many readers will not expect.” ―BCCB

“Combining bits of botanical history and exploration with accounts of adventurers, this unusual book introduces European and North American plant hunters...” ―Booklist

“…smoothly written, smartly paced and filled with exciting tales of risk taking and derring-do.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Anita Silvey is among today's foremost authorities on children's books. She is the creator of both the online and the print editions of the Children's Book-a-Day Almanac, and teaches courses in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Children's Literature Program at Simmons College. A frequent contributor to NPR, Ms. Silvey lectures around the country on children's and young adult books. Her books include Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot, I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War, and Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1170L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374309086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374309084
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By B. Miller on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Indiana Jones has nothing on these intrepid adventurers as they travel the world in search of the exotic - plant! Anita Silvey draws upon letters, diaries and journals to tell the story of these little known daring-do scientists.

Passionate about their discoveries, plant hunters "...love being outdoors in the natural world. They enjoyed traveling to places often unseen by others, and they found alien landscapes mysterious and beautiful." While many went into plant hunting with the hope of becoming rich, most also wanted to make scientific discoveries, inspired by the life of Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). Considered the father of modern botany, Linnaeus created the system to classify plants. "As he named everything from buffaloes to buttercups, he began to create order out of the natural world, or, as his motto has been translated, `God created. Linnaeus organized."

Anita opens with the amazing tale of Alexander von Humboldt. In his quest across South America, von Humboldt encountered a jaguar, is "...tormented by insects, threatened by crocodiles, and abandoned by his guides." At one point, he was poisoned by curare, a nerve poison used by the Tikuna tribe living on the Orinoco River.

The adventure didn't end once the hunters found their specimens. Transporting the discoveries back to the museums, arboretums, and royal gardens sometimes proved more difficult. Sometimes it could take weeks or months before the plant was ready to harvest, then it had to be carried by mules then by boats, being carried across land and ocean, exposed to all kinds of weather and environmental changes. Because plant hunters wanted to make sure their specimens survived, they collected sometimes thousands of specimens, and in doing so, created an environmental disaster.
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Format: Hardcover
Stalked by tigers, besieged by bandits, plant hunters endured massive privation, and masses of insects, to collect and send home specimens to advance science and make their countries wealthier and better. In an engaging and beautifully illustrated account, Silvey lures with tales of danger, opening reader's eyes to the history and value of plant exploration. Lots of archival photographs and prints compliment histories of individual explorers and `super-star plants' that changed our economies, history and health. A final chapter touches on some contemporary explorers who seek alternative energy sources, beauty and bio-diversity. Suitable for reports, the book includes a selective timeline, footnotes and a bibliography. Mis-identification of a handful of images mars this excellent volume: a plant on the second page is egregiously misidentified as an orchid-orchids ONLY have parallel veination, aquatints are called watercolors and a smooth-faced Chinese man is identified as the bearded Frank Meyer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book may be aimed at kids, it is really interesting and well written for adults, too. It gives you a deeper appreciation for all that went into discovering plants, cataloging, and naming them. Chapters are short so I read one a night or so just for a quick, fun read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect as intoduction in the subject. Witty text and with illustrations both beautiful, rare and informative. Easy to digest makes it suitable for both the younger reader and for those that believes history must be boring.
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