Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Karl, Get Out of the Garden! Carolus Linnaeus and the naming of everything by Anita Sanchez

Karl, Get Out of the Garden! Carolus Linnaeus and the naming of everything by Anita Sanchez. Illustrated by Catherine Stock. 48 p. Charlesbridge, March, 2017. 9781580896061. (Review of finished copy courtesy of the publisher.)

The scientist we know as Karl Linnaeus, father of the classification system of plants and animals we still use today was born Karl Linné in Sweden in May, 1707. Apparently, Karl's love of nature began early in infancy as he was calmed when placed in the garden. He was fascinated by everything in nature from plants to insects. He preferred to be in the garden than studying and it drove his mother, who hoped he would become a minister, scholar or lawyer, nuts. Thanks to a teacher who recognized Karl's affinity for plants, Karl went to medical school. He studied hard but soon realized that it was often difficult to tell which plants were which since the same plant went by different names. So he set about trying to name everything!

His classification system did not go over well. Rather than argue, he taught and his students loved him. Eventually, he was knighted by the king of Sweden. He also gave himself a scientific name: Carolus Linnaeus.

This picture book biography is just superb - engaging text marries perfectly to gorgeous pen, ink and watercolor illustrations. The added quotes by Linnaeus that are scattered throughout the book are a bonus. The end-page decorations feature field sketch spot art of a variety of plants. The paper stock is nice and heavy and will hold up to repeated usage. Additional information at the end include more about the scientist, a note about names, information about the scientific classification system, a time line, source notes, a bibliography and resources for young readers.

Give your science teachers a heads up about this. In my school, the fifth grade science teachers do a big unit on classification. I can't think of a better way to introduce the unit than to read this book aloud. I'll be adding it to my picture book biography unit my sixth graders will be participating in. Hand this to your patrons who might be a nature lover or a budding naturalist.

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