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BOOK REVIEW of Queen of the Night by Elaine A. Powers, Author

a light brown book cover with green lettering: Queen of the Night: Night Blooming Cereus, with illustration of a white flower
A favorite in the desert, where ALL of the Night-blooming Cereus bloom together on one night per year

BOOK REVIEW BY HELENE WOODHAMS
at the ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Queen of the Night: The Night-Blooming Cereus   $14.95
by Elaine A. Powers

Illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe 

A perk of Sonoran-desert living is the one-night-only appearance of the Night-Blooming Cereus, a much-anticipated summer event for Tucsonans who rely on predictions from experts to know precisely when the tiny window of opportunity will open on the floral extravaganza. How in the world do the experts know? And what causes a cactus to behave this way?

With this picture book, Elaine Powers demystifies the mysterious bloom, explaining – in rhyming couplets no less – the life cycle of the plant, how to predict its flowering (when the buds reach 170-230 millimeters, stand back!), why they all flower simultaneously, and other bits of botanical lore about this intriguing plant, which spends most of the year looking like an undistinguished stick. Written for children, Powers’ book will charm and edify cactus lovers of any age.
Lush illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe are a splendid accompaniment: Look for his very stern javelina on page 12 – he’s delightful.

A former laboratory biologist, Powers, who makes her home in Tucson, now writes science-based children’s books.

– Helene Woodhams

Helene Woodhams retired from Pima County Public Library, where she was literary arts librarian and coordinator of Southwest Books of the Year, the library’s annual literature review.

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A Review of DON’T CALL ME TURTLE

A book cover with a tortoise coming out of the cover, exclaiming, "Don't Call Me Turtle."
Tortoises and turtles may look alike, but they are VERY different! This fun illustrated book teaches the differences between these two creatures, and explains a bit about the habits and preferences of the tortoise. “A lesson sure to fascinate junior naturalists and animal lovers.” AZ Daily Star

By Helen Woodhams of Don’t Call Me Turtle! in the Arizona Daily Star:
“To the casual observer, turtles and tortoises appear to share so many similarities that we often use the names “turtle” and “tortoise” interchangeably. But the fact is that they couldn’t be more different, says Elaine Powers, whose charming picture book employs clever rhymes and colorful illustrations to demonstrate why the two should never be confused. To begin with, while some turtles were built to paddle around in the water, she says, tortoises were not – throw a tortoise in the water, and he’ll drown. And that’s just the beginning of her lesson about these special — and very distinctive — reptiles, a lesson sure to fascinate junior naturalists and animal lovers.”