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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
If you ever get a chance to visit Botanica, do not hesitate. You will find a spectacular garden housing the most exotic flora and fauna. Lady Allium, the devoted gardener, can give you an unforgettable tour of the premises. Of course, you would not be able to see the secret folks who tend the garden with their magic, nor would you visit Ned, the gnome in charge of this exquisite garden. Only Lady Allium can see and communicate with them. However, global warming and severe droughts cause the place to lose much of its beauty. Can humans and the fair folk save their beloved Botanica? Find out in Lady Allium, a picture book written by Mike Hamel that also includes photographs by Mike Braun and illustrations by Mae Danner.
I thank the mastermind who designed and executed this book. Although a picture book by definition, Lady Allium surpasses other such books by incorporating a combination of art forms. The rhyming sentences enhance the charm of a story that stars fantastical beings such as fairies, naiads, pixies, and gnomes. Moreover, it contains a unique medley of juxtaposed original photographs and colorful illustrations. You will find an actual stream with an illustrated fairy sitting on a rock beside it. Yet another page might reveal a lush garden full of vibrant flower beds with a garden gnome tending to the flowers. These simple yet ingenious tweaks make the book aesthetically pleasing and accentuate the magical story. It is impossible to determine whether Hamel’s story, Braun’s photographs, or Danner’s illustrations deserve center stage. All three complement each other perfectly, turning Lady Allium into a beautiful book that readers of all ages will enjoy.