Drawn from Nature {Art Made from Plants and Flowers} #BookReview


Next week will officially be spring, and if you're not feeling the warm weather, yet, hopefully you soon will be. This month it's all about preparing for the warm weather. We're super excited about saying "see you later" to the cold winter months. Of course, since it's still chilly outside here in our neck of the woods, we've been keeping warm indoors, enjoying all kinds of animal and nature themed books–some that I've been sharing right here on my blog.

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri is another book that we've been enjoying quite a bit. While the book, itself, encompasses nature through all four seasons, I thought it was especially fitting for this time of year as we start to see plants and flowers spring (no pun intended) back into life.

Helen Ahpornsiri's intricate artwork transforms leaves, petals, and seeds into bounding hares, swooping swallows, and blossoming trees. Using nothing but pressed plants, this journey through the seasons captures the wonder and magic of the natural world between the pages of a book. This standout title with beautiful nonfiction text will take readers through an extraordinary year in the wild.

Helen Ahpornsiri creates intricate collages using real flowers and foliage, which are foraged or grown, then preserved with traditional flower-pressing methods. The plants are organized by species or color before being cut and delicately arranged to form birds, insects, and other creatures, all filled with tiny patterns and tangles of plant life.

When you really think about the time and effort that it takes to put together illustrations with such exquisite detail, you cannot help but be amazed. This is a form of art all on its own. Ms. Ahpornsiri takes responsibly foraged plants and flowers, and places them in a flower press for approximately one to six weeks, depending. No special paints or dyes are used, which helps to preserve the natural colors of each plant. She then carefully cuts and places them on pages to form the detailed illustrations that you see in this book. From the grasshoppers to the heron to the squirrel, it's all made with plant life. The title has a literal meaning in that everything in this book, page upon page of animals flying or frolicking in their surrounding habit, are actually drawn from nature.

As if the illustrations weren't impressive enough, the author includes plenty of non-fiction narrative to go along with the beautiful artwork. This is what I really like about the book–it's both visually stunning and educational at the same time. The recommended age for this book is six through nine years old, but teens and adults will also appreciate what it has to offer. I personally like that it teaches children plenty of fun facts about nature. Readers will learn how nocturnal animals hunt for their prey, and the the life cycle of a frog and other pond life. Although, we are reading this as part of our "getting ready for spring" collection, since it has so many pictures of flower petals and other greenery, the book actually highlights all four seasons–even displaying the red and golden leaves in the autumn, as well as the bare branches and disintegrating leaves in winter. 

Drawn from Nature would make a fantastic gift for kids or even an adult who loves nature. There are plenty of educational topics to read about and, of course, there's the beautiful illustrations that come straight from nature. This book is definitely a beauty for all nature lovers out there, young and old.