People have turned to flowers and plants for healing and food since the dawn of time. Flower Power: The Magic of Nature’s Healers presents 17 flowers that we still use for their healing properties, whether they’re available as teas, herbal medicine, or spices. Christine Paxmann begins with an author’s note on the human history of our relationship with flowering plants, from hunter-gatherers who learned through trial and error which were poisonous and which were beneficial (and tasty), to the ancient shamans, who began boiling, crushing, and mixing flowers and seeds together, to today’s consumer, who can walk into just about any store to pick up an herbal tea, cough drop, or spice to add to their food.
Each flower enjoys its own spread here, with an interesting profile discussing history and uses on the left-hand page, and on the right, a painting by illustrator Olaf Hajek. It’s really Olaf Hajek’s illustrations that are the stars of the show here: inspired by folk art, Renaissance paintings, and fairy tale illustrative style, each flower is bright and bold, with a touch of the fantastic and surreal, and immediately draws readers to the pages. These could easily be in a gallery as in a book.
The 17 flowers include names that are readily familiar, like the artichoke, dandelion, pineapple, and ginger; lesser-known appearances introduce readers to such plants as the Mary thistle, Madonna lily, and rowan. Flower Power is a nice reference book for readers interested in learning more about flowering plants and their uses and is a thoughtful add to STEM and nonfiction collections for middle school and high school. Flower Power is translated from the work’s original German.