I understand Tom Brown has a following and is a renowed expert on this subject, but I did not know that when I bought the book. My mistake was that I did not compare this book to other similar books before buying it. 1) I'm new to this subject. 2) I was not familiar with Tom Brown and the extent of his work. 3) I didn't realize the heavy spiritual and anecdotal content of this book. That's where I made my mistake, I saw "Guide to Wild Plants" in the title and mistook it for an actual Guide to Wild Plants(which would have pictures or at least representative drawings, identification information, range, usage, cautions, etc.) instead of focusing on the "Tom Brown" part of the title. I'm sure for the person that is looking for this sort of thing, the book is a treasure trove of stories, folklore and legends, suggestions, and spiritual (nature/earth worship) connotations of each item. The few ink drawings appeared to be more about man's connection to the forest instead of pictures of what the herb/plant would look like. So, my mistake. I think for the right person, someone who is looking to expand their knowledge or read some interesting stories, this would be a gem. I didn't get far at all into the book before I realized I made a mistake and I bought another Guide to Wild Plants (the boring kind with pictures and objective descriptions) instead.
Tom Brown may not cover a lot of plants, but each plant is throughly addressed. Each entry opens with a personal story of Tom's physical and spiritual relationship with the plant discussed, both amusing and educational. I highly suggest this book for outdoors-oriented children and young adults.
This book was a fun review for me aftre I had taken some Tom Brown courses and studied plants for various uses with Karen, then on the Tracker School team. Nothign instructs better than the plants themselves. Get out there with a collecting bag, a knowlegeable friend, field guides and a floral key like Newcomb's. It's practice, practice, practice that trains the eye.