Alice, a part-time pediatrician and a full-time mom to two boys and a girl, blogs about a variety of books at Supratentorial. While she covers picture books as well as some middle grade stories, she is on the first round panel for Elementary and Middle Grade Nonfiction for the 2013 Cybils. Here is her review of Gillian Richardson's Ten Plants That Shool the World:
""Talk about a title that grabs you. 10 Plants that Shook the World
has to intrigue even those most entrenched in the idea that botany
equals boring. You don’t think of plants as being great movers and
shakers in history but Gillian Richardson is out to change their image.
As the title implies, Richardson doesn’t include the 10 most important
plants or most unusual but rather 10 plants that had a major impact
somehow on global history or economy. Papryus, cotton, rubber, tea,
sugarcane, corn, potatoes, cacoa, pepper and cinchona (the plant that
quinine, used to treat malaria, comes from) are the plants chosen for
inclusion. Each chapter includes some bare facts (age, stats, native
location) and short sidebar vignettes about the plant along with the
primary text telling the story of how that plant was important in
history. Some photographs are mixed in with stylized drawings by Kim
Rosen. The overall feel is not unlike that of a nature journal or
notebook stuffed full of observations and sketches about each plant."
See this and more reviews for this division at Supratentorial.