In my younger days, I ventured across the country several times. On one occasion, I was fortunate enough to find myself in Texas in the spring and had to pull over in awe at the sight of the Texas State Flower, the Blue Bonnet! While I was too impressed with the beauty of taking a picture, here is one that is reminiscent of that moment.
Couple the Blue Bonnet with America’s Singing Zoologist, Lucas Miller, and you have the making of one fantastic children’s book, BlueBonnet Time! An Evan Wilder Science Journal (April 2011, BioRhythms Publishing). Miller is a Kentucky native who moved to Austin, Texas, in 1992 after earning his Zoology Degree from the University of Miami in Ohio. BlueBonnet Time! was inspired by that first spring he spent in Austin. “I was just blown away by the bluebonnets and the other wildflowers that first spring in Austin,” Miller recalled his first encounter with the state flower. “I was driving to Houston for one of my shows from Austin, and there’s a spot off US290 where there must have been 50 cars pulled over. Seeing all those families out there made it occur to me that that was a teachable moment.”
That teachable moment morphed into a fictional tale about the Wilder Family, where budding field scientist Evan Wilder takes his family on a road trip to grandma and grandpa. It’s an adventure with the Wilder Family in fields of Blue Bonnets with Grandma with big smiles cleverly illustrated in the books colorful pages.
Geared for ages 6-9 years, my children loved this book. We don’t have fields of flowers here in Utah, so they were amazed to discover Texas does. They loved the perspective of viewing the BlueBonnet through a magnifying glass…they can be so geeky sometimes!
Even my husband was in on the fun, telling us the story of how pansies have a king inside…when BlueBonnet Time! Shared that Bluebonnets communicate with bees, telling them when their pollen is ripe and when it’s stale. The Divine Miss M loves the color blue and was tickled that blue is why bees like blue bonnets–they’re attracted to the color!
Having done science experiments, my kiddos enjoyed the “journal” on the pages and how the book had them thinking. I really loved the “real” pictures on page 28 that show what bluebonnets look like after their season. It is quite an amazing change.
As an added bonus, BlueBonnet Time! comes with a CD that contains nine original songs written by Miller. In addition to the song that inspired the book, it also includes: “Goin’ Down to Mexico (the Monarch Butterfly Song),” “Send Them Back Home to Brazil (the Fire Ant Song),” and “Stinkle, Stinkle, Little Skunky. They’re catchy tunes that stick in the head. My kiddos can be heard singing them often!
In addition to learning about the Blue Bonnets, the book shares other facts about wildflowers and a lesson we can all take to heart…take a picture, not the flower. Miller says, “I’m always looking for teachable moments, and Texans’ obsession with taking snapshots in the bluebonnets seems great. Through this book and my songs, I hope that kids, parents, and educators will take more notice of the flowers when they’re snapping photos (and maybe be careful not to squish so many). There’s so much to learn and discover when you take a moment to look closely at anything in nature.”
Miller has been named an “American Masterpiece Artist” from National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, please visit www.lucasmiller.net or www.bluebonnettime.com.
I received BlueBonnet Time! to facilitate an honest review. No other compensation was received. The opinions, where expressed, are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others’ experiences may vary.