#BelieveInMagic Day 14: Mushroom Magic, by Kim Kurki (plus Book Giveaway!)


Mushroom Magic

If you come upon a mushroom ring, it’s sure to bring delight.
What magic caused this marvel that has popped up over night?
The fungus known as Fairy Ring grows in a circle round,
Where some say fairies dance within, or buried treasure’s found.
Some think it’s caused by lightning strikes or witches casting spells.
To step inside, on a moonlit night, risks capture by the elves.

The mushroom is a curious plant which needs no light to thrive.
The toadstools growing from the ground are more than meets the eye.
The strange, alluring cap and stalk is just the fruit we see,
Like an apple hanging from a branch upon its parent tree.
The “parent” is the feeding threads which grow beneath the ground.
They form a circle as they spread, and toadstools sprout around.

The ring can live for many years, growing all the while,
From two feet in diameter to wider than a mile!
So what’s the purpose of this plant? Umbrella for a mouse?
A pleasant perch for a resting toad, or a tiny pixie house?
This mushroom is a source of food for critters large and small,
But the fungus has a special job, the cleverest of all.

As part of nature’s clean-up crew, it helps to decompose,
Turning refuse from a dying plant into soil as it grows.
The spreading of its feeding threads can eat up toxic spills,
And research has discovered that some species cure our ills.
The magic of the mushroom is its underrated worth.
The fungus that’s among us may just help to save the earth.

Kim has offered a signed copy of her non-fiction book, National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: A Beginner’s Guide, which she wrote and illustrated. For children ages 7-12, the book contains whimsical poetry about a variety of bird species.

To enter the giveaway, add a comment below ! The giveaway contest is open until February 28, and the winners will be announced in March.

Kim Kurki has been working as an illustrator since graduating from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (magna cum laude) in 1980. Her work has been published and distributed world-wide on fine art prints, packaging, and numerous stationery and gift products. Recent work includes commissioned fine art illustrations for Merck & Co. Inc. and illustrations for Yankee Publishing (The Old Farmer’s Almanac, etc.)

For almost a decade, she wrote and illustrated for National Wildlife Federation’s Your Big Backyard magazine, creating a monthly page called “Explore the Big Outdoors.” This award-winning column featured birds, animals, and plants that children can find in “their own backyards”. Her first book, National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds: A Beginner’s Guide, has evolved from that collection of work. Published by Black Dog & Leventhal for ages 7-12, it is the first in a series of books introducing the natural world to young readers (and curious adults!) NWF’s World of Birds recently won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Gold Medal for Best Nonfiction Publication: Animals/Pets, November 2014.

Scholastic has adopted NWF’s World of Birds as part of its book fair offerings for students.

Kim is available to share her experiences through school visits, family events, and presentations for adult groups. See her Facebook page for more information.

A native of Bucks County, PA, Kim currently resides in Penns Park. She surrounds herself with native plants and wildflowers and shares the property with many wild creatures that provide inspiration and delight. You can see more of Kim’s work at www.kurkiillustration.com.

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16 Responses to #BelieveInMagic Day 14: Mushroom Magic, by Kim Kurki (plus Book Giveaway!)

  1. So much fun info about mushrooms! We have a few strange varieties that grow in our front yard sometimes, but I haven’t see a fairy circle. Sound magical!

  2. Judith Wright Aplin says:

    Both these books enchant me and will my young granddaughter as well. For Christmas her uncle gave her some fairy furniture to place in the yard(or in the park across the street or a forest) and she will love to hear about mushroom fairy rings. She and I like looking at all the birds that appear in our yards, but need to know more about them as we are new to Pennsylvania. Thank you for writing and illustrating these books!

    • Kim Kurki says:

      “National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds” is my only book so far. It’s filled with the most fun and fascinating facts that I could find. The Mushroom Magic illustration and poem are featured in a “sourcebook” for Bucks County Illustrators Society, of which I am a member. I hope to incorporate it into a future book about the magic in nature. I love the idea of your granddaughter’s fairy furniture. When I was a child, my best friend and I created Leprechaun Gardens in hopes of attracting the little fellow.

  3. Anni Matsick says:

    Mushrooms can grow in circles—who knew! (At least, not me!) What fun you must have had, Kim, illustrating this series.

    • Kim Kurki says:

      I am endlessly fascinated by the wonders of nature. Working for National Wildlife Federation’s “Your Big Backyard” magazine, and the evolution of my book,”NWF’s World of Birds,” from that project was the most fun I have had as an illustrator. So many people respond with saying, “I never knew that (fact about birds, plants, etc.).

  4. So, so beautiful! This book would be a great addition to our environmental ed class. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Kim Kurki says:

      Thank you. I have been able to share my “sense of wonder” with students in schools, family groups at nature centers, and adult venues as well. It’s rewarding to enlighten folks with the magic of nature.

  5. Nina Haines says:

    The art is alluring. The fairy, frog and squirrel are adorable. This is a great book for children.

    • Kim Kurki says:

      This particular illustration is featured in a sourcebook for the Bucks County Illustrators Society, of which I am a member. I hope to include it, and others like it, in a future book that I am working on about the magic in nature. My first book, “National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds” is all about our feathered friends!

  6. Helen Kitrosser says:

    Kim, as a gardener and lover of nature, your lovely illustrations and poem about mushrooms hooked me. I plan to purchase your bird book for my grandchildren who love learning about birds.

    • Kim Kurki says:

      That’s wonderful! I am a gardener as well, and find inspiration while I’m crawling around in the soil, discovering plants and critters.

  7. Lindsay Bandy says:

    Kim, the fanciful artwork drew me in right away. I read your poem to my daughters over breakfast, and we enjoyed the lovely illustration, the beautiful sound and movement of the words, and learning new things about mushrooms! It’s rare to find poetry that’s both beautiful and informative. Thank you for sharing! Now we just need SPRING so we can go fairy-ring hunting 🙂

    • Kim Kurki says:

      Thank you for your comments. I really enjoy the process of research for the most fascinating facts, and then “painting a magical picture” with both words and images. Nature is truly an inspiration for me and I will never lose my “sense of wonder.”

  8. Kristen C.S. says:

    So cool to bring out the magic in non-fiction and poetically at that. Amazing! =)

  9. janet bryce says:

    I love your poem. Something so small can be just as important as something very tall. I enjoyed your poem, made me smile.

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