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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
When Isaiah’s mother tells him that they are going to visit a botanical garden, he is not impressed. He would much rather stay home and play video games. He doesn’t even know what the word botanical means. When she uses his given name rather than one of her nicknames for him, Isaiah know she is serious, though, and there is no hope of arguing. As his mother points to a flower his favorite color, Isaiah comments that it is “only a flower”. This leads to an unexpected lesson issued by Ms. Kelley, a botanist who works with plants at the garden.
The Purpose of It’s Only a Flower: I’d Rather Play Video Games by Kimberly Deneen is two-fold in a dual lesson of botany and social awareness. In this day of computer game mania, Kimberly Deneen tackles the common trend of reticence among computer gamers. By introducing a life lesson to Isaiah, the author reinforces her book epigraph: “You are young now, just a kid. One day you will be older and what you do and don’t do now will shape who you will become. Allowing yourself to experience new people, places and things will help you to become the best version of yourself.” By including Isaiah in a dialogue about seeds and their ultimate journey to the dinner plate, Ms. Kelley opens his eyes to another source of entertainment than video games. With the inclusion of a glossary of plant-related items, this is a perfect addition to personal study as well as the classroom curriculum for young readers.