Top critical review
Don't Need Evolutionary Propaganda
Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2011
We had received the Fine Feathered Friends book in this series. I, my husband & my 1 year old loved it, (especially when I sang it to "Three Blind Mice") so started to look for more as I presumed correctly that they'd all be in verse form so I'd be able to sing them if I wanted. This one isn't as easy to put to a tune as the meter isn't as good (I guess a different author might account for this). What I like about it is most of the illustrations & layout. It contains lots of information on one page, but isn't overwhelming because it uses a few different fonts to state secondary facts, and has labels for the tree names just like scientists would use (except in English not Latin). The shape, leaves & bark are illustrated for each tree very nicely.
What I hate about the book is the Evolutionary propaganda included. This was NOT the case for the bird book which was good, & in this book it is totally unnecessary and is even misleading. On page 25 the author talks about the oldest living tree ever found which is fine & the age may even be correct at 4700 years. However, they depict Thing 1 & Thing 2 on this page as "cave men" which is totally inaccurate as even secular historians/scientists would agree that the Chinese had a very sophisticated culture during this time. This age would actually fit nicely or even better with a Young Earth Creationist view as the tree could have started growing just following Noah's Flood.
The mention of dinosaurs on page 33 doesn't bother me as much as Thing 1 & Thing 2 aren't depicted as cavemen, but people who were alive at the time of dinosuars (which in the Creationist view is accepted). But then on page 34 the real Evolutionary propaganda bomb is dropped and it is stated inaccurately that the Ginkgo tree "grew 250 million years in the past!" This is NOT fact--radiocarbon dating has limits of several thousand years, so this date is based on inaccurate presuppositions about layers of rock.
I like that a leaf pressing project & planting trees is encouraged near the end, but the bit about "Knowing trees' names, my dear miss and dear mister, is like knowing the name of your brother or sister," is rather blantantly nature worship--that is equating even non-emotive living things with humans who have souls. This is totally unnecessary to & even hurts the integrity of the book & should be taken out as should be the Evolutionary propaganda mentioned above. My point being if you do not believe in animism & Evolution & don't want to teach this to your children, don't buy this book. Or use it as a teaching moment to teach which things are fact, and which things aren't. I fully intend on rewriting these sections or skipping over them for now--so frustrating!