First Studies of Plant Life is written with a truly heart-warming purpose. Written by a distinguished academic but pitched at a level which is designed to allow a teacher to captivate a child in the earliest years of school. Atkinson takes the view that reasoning and ‘why?’ questions are suitable and appropriate for even the tiniest children and should not be held in reserve for a later date.<br>It centres on an understanding of the ‘life history’ of a plant rather than tedious and traditional encouragements to rote learn and exclude context. George Francis Atkinson tells us in a startling modern way that a child does not best learn about a flower by uprooting it, dissecting and classifying it. Rather they should plant a seed, find out how it germinates, watch it grow, learn about its food, see how it breathes, reproduces and ultimately dies back. For as the author states ‘When the child has once become acquainted with the conditions and necessities of plant life, how different will the world seem to him.’<br> <br>The book begins and progresses in an intuitive way. It begins with the particular characteristics of seeds and their peculiarities and progresses all the way on to the root systems, the changing colours of the leaves on trees and the bright momentary flowers and bids by plants for pollination and reproduction. Small engaging experiments suitable for independent learners, homeschooling or teachers in a classroom are outlined and encouraged, further tying the book to an inclusive ethos of hands on learning. A child could hardly fail to fall in love with botany when taught from this book but an adult has scarcely more opportunity to avoid being enthralled.