This fall I taught our local homeschool co-op STEAM class and focused on fungi. I borrowed every book that I could get my hands on from our local library and requested an extra dozen. I was pleasantly surprised by this book showing up on my shelf, Katya’s Book of Mushrooms, by Katya Arnold.
Katya’s Book of Mushrooms is a story of Katya’s passion and love for mushrooms and discovering them in the wild. Her book is not a field guide, so shouldn’t be consulted for foraging tips nor should it be used to identify mushrooms as edible or poisonous. Using delightful illustrations, drawn by the author, she tells mythological stories of her forest friends, and illuminates their ecological role there.
As a forager myself, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of information on morphology that is used to key out a mushroom identification, although it does not help with making any species suggestions. I think this is a good feature for the intended audience of children from 5-14, as they shouldn’t be making edibility judgements without an expert’s opinion.
This delightful book illustrates many commonly found mushrooms of North America, and yet has information from Russia, as that is where Katya Arnold was born and spent her early years.
I highly recommend Katya’s Book of Mushrooms for science units to introduce a child to fungi and instill increased awareness of the presence of mushrooms around us in nature.