Tales of the Mushroom Folk – written and by illustrated by Signe Aspelin

Tales of the Mushroom Folk – written and illustrated by Signe Aspelin, translated from the Swedish by Polly Lawson, Floris Books, (9781782507529), c1909, 2016, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Informational Picture book

What did you like about the book? This extraordinary book exhibits no signs of being dated even though it was first published one hundred and twelve years ago!  All the Mushroom Folk are real mushrooms.  They are presented in their actual habitat and season and with characteristics intrinsic to each.  The Brain Mushrooms are “hidden deep among the cowslips and anemones.” “They wake in early spring.”  And, of course, they resemble a brain. “When the sun comes out, the Parasol Mushrooms must protect their delicate skin.  Up go their caps, spreading wide to keep them cool.”  In all, twelve Mushroom families are represented: Brain, Button, Coral, Fly Agaric Toadstools, Parasol, Porcini, Puffballs (one of my favorites), Saffron Milkcaps, Shaggy Ink Caps, Slimy Milkcaps, Slippery Jacks and Stinkhorns.  Each detailed and fun illustration depicts their characteristics, habitat and season.  The illustrations actually are rather old-fashioned as they are vintage, reminding one of Elsa Beskow’s work.

End pages provide a guide to all the mushrooms and note whether they are edible or poisonous.

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book introduces children to mushrooms in a novel way, those who enjoyed Elise Gravel’s The Mushroom Fan Club, those who enjoy vintage books –

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, K-2 classrooms and child-care centers

Where would you shelve it? Though there is a lot of useful non-fictional information on mushrooms, it could probably only be shelved with Picture Books.

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 6/21/2021

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