Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Plants of Disneyland

Walt Disney World has long had books about its plants and gardens, but where are the Disneyland ones? (Actually, there was once one, long ago, but it's out of print). Independent author Kevin Saint Clair Martyn sought to remedy that, and he's got the finished product now for sale!

The Field Guide to the Trees and Plants of the Disneyland Resort ($12.95 from Amazon) is 106 color pages covering the major plants, shrubs, and trees on display at the two parks, the hotels, and the shopping district. There are color photos of everything. In fact, most things have more than one picture, using insets to display sub-pictures.

The book is sometimes presented "sideways", but it's not consistent, so that you end up moving the book back and forth as you switch pages. This was presumably done to keep it interesting and different - no boring book here!

In fact, the author seems to have gone out of his way to make sure the book doesn't veer toward boring. He provides scientific names (and phonetic pronunciations) for all plants, as well as a graphic of where in the world this plant normally comes from. Then he lists where in the resort you can find it, so the book could become something of a treasure hunt if you wanted. The remainder of the page is taken up by those big pictures and a small paragraph about the plant in question: its origins, what makes it special, or humankind's history of interaction with this plant. It's interesting, even for those with no particular interest in botany.

For Disney fans, he even tucks in a few humorous inclusions in his list of plants, such as the Tarzan tree or the Splash Mountain brambles (there are a few others, too)--they include fictional answers and a tongue in cheek delivery about this 'history' of these 'plants'.

The book lists on Amazon as co-written by me. In reality my role was merely a consultant to the author on the process of book writing, and I also wrote the foreword to the book. I receive no compensation for books sold (though I did receive a complimentary copy of the final output).

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.