My lovely neighbor, Dr. Sam, continues to write beautiful reviews for Children’s Books Daily, and this one is no exception! I love the ‘Welcome to the Museum’ series and they have been ‘coffee table books’ in my house for many years. Botanicum is possibly my favorite due to my deep love of plants and I have the poster book in the school library for display. The activity book has been very much enjoyed by ChickPea and Dr. Sam Lloyd and his children have also discovered it. Coloring/activity books are great for literacy/art links and, as Sam says, for a moment of quiet reflection and mindfulness. Thank you Sam for your review, you can see all of Sam’s science-based reviews by searching for his name or clicking on his category tag on this page.
NEVERTHELESS I’m also incredibly happy to say that Sam is starting his own business: reviewing science and nature books! His wonderful catchphrase is ‘grow little minds into great thinkers’ – our future needs those great thinkers, especially when it comes to conserving our planet. Go and follow Dr. Sam Lloyd on Instagram here while building your profile and using your AMAZING scientific brain forever!
Title: ‘Botanicum Activity Book’
Critical: Dr Sam Lloyd
Author/Illustrator: katie scott and kathy willis
Editor: 2017 Big Picture Press in association with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Age range: late primary to adult
Topics: Coloring/activity book, botany, flowers, mindfulness, science.
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‘Botanicum – Activity Book’
by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
the Botanicum Activity Book accompanies the successful book Botanical (by the same commissioners) and is part of the welcome to the museum Serie. In recent years there has been an explosion of coloring and activity books for older children and adults. I first rediscovered coloring about 10 years ago when I took a mindfulness course. the fantastic program smiling mind defines mindfulness coloring as “…bring our awareness to the present moment by consciously focusing on color and design”. Since I started, I have found it very valuable to color and share the coloring with my children. That’s not to say it happens often, but whenever I sit down to color and the kids are around, they always come to join me.
More than coloring!
What I really like about the Botanicum Activity Book is that it is much more than coloring: it has an attractive selection of creative and artistic activities based on botany. In addition, its appeal is wide, both for children (late primary – secondary) and for adults. In addition to coloring, Botanical includes ‘find the difference’ images, many drawing opportunities, including pages showing how to draw certain plants and how to use a grid to draw the others, and pages with ‘matching the plant’ to seed, region and correct type. food produced, etc. What I also like about Botanical it’s the challenge, not just the challenge of drawing accurately, but the botanical challenge of some of the activities, that makes the book more interesting than most.
Artistically, the book is packed with beautifully detailed botanical drawings and images with perfect color and depth. The quality of the paper is great for work and it has a very solid cardboard backing, making it great for travel and for little people who like to steal their parents’ coloring books. My favorite pages/activities were (and you can see some of my efforts):
- Alpine habitat Spot the difference;
- “finish the sheets“grid drawing where you’re given half the leaf and you draw the other half with the grid to help improve accuracy… you can see my attempt on the broadleaf maple here:
- Coloring of plants/vegetables underground, which I did with my children; Y
- “Match carnivorous plants with the way they catch their prey.” – These pictures are great and I love a good discussion about predatory plants!
A Note on Mindfulness Coloring Books and Activities
I found the following references interesting and useful:
- smiling mind: Fantastic app and website with lots of mindfulness information and resources.
- Head space: This is an excellent website and app for mental health, meditation and mindfulness (although I think the app is quite expensive).
- Paperbark Writer: this is the creative genius of artist and environmentalist Paula Peeters. Paula offers a lot of creative inspiration based on nature, but the nature journal is completely beautiful. “Nature journaling is the practice of drawing or writing in response to observations of nature.”. She has self-published “Take this book out for a walk”, which is a step-by-step guide to journaling about nature and offers workshops. her book”make a date with nature”, which is an introduction to the journal of nature, can be downloaded for free via the link.
Dr Samantha Lloyd is an ecologist and environmental steward with a passion for the Australian bush, children’s literature, dance, music and baking.
Having graduated from the University of Wollongong with a Bachelor of Science (Biology), First Class Honors in 1998 and a PhD (pollination ecology) in 2006, Sam has worked as an environmental manager for the regional body SEQ NRM; as an entomologist for the Australian and New Zealand Fire Ant Control Programs; and as Coordinator of the Moreton Bay Oil Spill Environmental Restoration Program.
Sam’s long-standing day job is as Manager of the Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium, with ecology and bushfire awareness being another of his passions.