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Mushroom Rain

What can smell like bubble gum, glow neon green at night, be poisonous and yet still eaten by humans, and even help create rain? The answer is mushrooms! From their hidden networks underground to the fruiting body above, mushrooms can do incredible things. But don't call them plants—mushrooms are fungi. They're more closely related to animals like you! Through lyrical text and colorful, detailed artwork, the wonderful, mysterious, and sometimes bizarre world of mushrooms is explored. Back matter includes a glossary, additional mushroom facts, and a science activity.

    Pages: 32

    Ages 4-8

    By Laura Zimmermann

    illustrated by Jamie Green


    "This showstopper of a picture book will wake kids up to the wonders of the botanical underpinnings and incredible aspects of the science of mushrooms. Lyrical text describes the infinite variety of mushrooms that spring up after a rain and then explains how the mushrooms live on even when they appear to have disappeared. A vast network of threads can spread underground for miles and thousands of years, waiting for the next rain in order to fruit again. Raindrops themselves form around mushroom spores that have flown up into the sky in a mycological cycle of life. Stunning illustrations glow, often against dark backgrounds, and demonstrate a dazzling mastery of color and texture. Back matter in the form of a scrapbook goes into greater detail, including a diagram of mushroom parts and an activity for making spore prints. VERDICT Pictures and words fizz with the magic that surrounds the quiet work of mushrooms and should send kids looking to learn more." —School Library Journal

    "In her debut picture book, Zimmermann, author of numerous short nonfiction articles for children’s magazines, invites her audience to look closely at mushrooms. In lyrical, attention-grabbing language, she describes mushrooms’ bizarre shapes and colors and remarkable smells—there are even mushrooms that smell like bubble gum! She goes on to mention foragers, both animal and human, and then turns to mushroom reproduction and the secret underground lives of these fungal blooms. Star-dusted double-page illustrations convey Green’s enthusiasm for the subject. Backgrounds of black night skies and deep-brown ground layers on several spreads underscore the mystery of mushroom existence. Green portrays other plant life as well, along with fauna, from a forest-floor perspective, and then follows mushroom spores into the clouds, where they help create rain. In the backmatter we learn that in Russia, a gentle rain that falls while the sun is shining is called a “mushroom rain,” hence the title of the book, and that the “largest known living organism on Earth” is a mushroom-producing fungus growing in a forest in eastern Oregon. With spare text and engaging pictures, this relatively simple nonfiction book would make an effective storytime presentation. The backmatter, printed in a scriptlike text, is clearly geared toward adults." — Kirkus Reviews

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