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By Thomas J. Elpel
In a mythical world where time is a liquid that falls as rain upon the land, young Shanleya paddles her canoe out to the tree islands to learn the plant traditions of her people. Each island is home to a separate family of plants and an unforgettable Guardian with lessons to teach about the identification and uses of those plants. Shanleya's Quest is a truly unique educational book that presents botanical concepts and plant identification skills in an easy and fun metaphorical format for children as well as for adults who are young at heart. The book begins with a creation myth that parallels evolutionary concepts, where life begins as bubbles in a puddle of soup under the radiance of Father Sun and the gentle glow of Mother Moon. The evolutionary tree of life becomes a literal part of the story, buried up to its branch-tips (the "islands") in an ocean of Time that just keeps getting deeper and deeper. This is the world that Shanleya explores by canoe, learning the essential characteristics of closely related plants on each island she visits. Readers young and old can join Shanleya's Quest, learning the patterns to correctly identify more than 45,000 species of plants to their proper families. The Quest will change the way you see the world, enabling you to experience nature in a new and magical way that you probably never imagined possible. Written by outdoor educator Thomas J. Elpel, author of Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification. Wonderfully illustrated by Gloria Brown, who blended botanical accuracy with fantasy to produce artwork that both captivates and educates!