Toronto Star recommends The Mushroom Fan Club

“New books so good your child will put down their device” / The Toronto Star / Deirdre Baker / July 13, 2018

Gravel’s wonderfully nutty humour and self-confessed obsession “with bizarre creatures” is evident throughout this unorthodox, informative nature book. An introduction to mushrooms may sound dull, but Gravel can make anything exciting and weird. Searching for mushrooms is “like a treasure hunt that nature organized just for us!” she enthuses, but it’s really her descriptive take on her subject that will have kids heading for the woods. “They look like aliens from outer space,” she says. One kind has “little folds like an old person’s wrinkles”; one looks like “an alien’s brain”; another explodes “poof! like a great fart” when it lets loose its spores. In amongst all the candid, seemingly casual commentary is a sound introduction to this family of plants, with suitable cautionary advice about gathering and identification. Then there’s the final entertainment: a page of “poetic” (and real) mushroom names (Bug Sputnik, Drumstick Truffle Club, Dewdrop Dapperling) and a list of “things that happened to me while hunting mushrooms.” Surprising and hilarious. Highly recommended.

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