What We’re Reading is an ongoing series of book reviews by the folks at your UTC Library featuring selections from our collection.
Title: Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities
By: Amy Stewart; etchings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs; drawings by Jonathon Rosen
Find it here: QK100 .A1 S74 2009 (3rd Floor)
I have to admit that I’m drawn to unusual titles and eye-catching covers, and Wicked Plants has both. So hmmm, a book with the words “wicked” and “atrocities” in the title; why wouldn’t I want to discover what this handsome little book is all about?! What evil lurks in my garden?! I had to find out!
Small, only 5×7 inches and 236 pages, the book is not a plant field-guide, but a fun, fascinating look at over 200 dangerous and deadly plants. Wicked Plants is attractively designed with detailed botanical illustrations, and the vellum-look pages make it seem hand-crafted. I would definitely call it a little gem of a book.
Wicked Plants is easy to read with short entertaining chapters; part history book and part reference book and filled with gruesome stories. The book starts out with “Consider Yourself Warned” and continues with quirky sections such as “This Houseplant Could Be Your Last,” “Botanical Crime Families,” “Lawn of Death,” and many more engaging parts. The book concludes with a bibliography and a list of poison gardens. The only trivial objection I have about this book is that it has no index. Regardless, for a fan of natural history books such as me, this is an entertaining and intriguing read.
Valarie Prescott Adams is the Cataloging & Authorities Coordinator at UTC Library.