Primroses versus Spruces: Cultural differences between flora depicted in British and Polish children’s books

Luczaj, Lukasz
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Plant illustrations encountered by children during their education directly result from the actual native culture and flora and simultaneously shape children’s perception of vegetation. Children’s book illustrations were compared in Great Britain, a country with a long tradition of realism in visual arts, and Poland (89 books were studied in each country). It was found that British children’s books contained more species of plants and less species of fungi, but the differences were not significant. The proportion of native woodland species is the same for both countries, but Polish illustrations show less woodland flowers and more trees. British illustrations contain proportionally more purple and yellow flowers. Polish illustrations do not reflect the potential natural vegetation (deciduous forests) but rather reflect species typical for disturbed sites and boreal elements of the flora, which are dominant in the countries east of Poland. This can be explained by population movements which took place after 1945.
primroses, spruces, Great Britain, Poland, children's literature, plant illustrations
Luczaj L. 2009. Primroses versus spruces: cultural differences between flora depicted in British and Polish children’s books. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 7:115-121.
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