Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania by Gloria D. Gonsalves is a book for 4 to 7-year-olds about Stan who goes venturing into the forest and meets a magical collection of plants, mushrooms, and other fauna. In each meeting with the different plant-creatures, we learn about different plant’s properties (such as fern, moss, blackberry, and many others). When Stan falls ill, we then learn the medicinal properties of all these different plants. Gonsalves deftly integrates real facts about plants without seeming too encyclopedic – kids will learn and appreciate the different forms of plant life without even realizing they’re learning!
The illustrations, done by a group of children, are charming, all sweetly drawn and directly on topic with the theme of the page. It would have been nice for children to get a credit on each picture, as well as learn their ages, which would excite kids to drive home that they’re reading a book in part by other kids. The different styles for each drawing makes each turn of the page a brand new experience.
One weakness in the book is it a bit prose-rich for the age group, and could be pared down without necessarily losing the heart and scope of the story. Overall, Danloria is a fun and informative book that will have kids appreciating nature in a new way and they may just look at the world differently the next time they venture out into the forest.