The first 40 or so pages explores and explains a variety of topics, including: the history of companion planting, different methods (schools of thought) of agriculture around the world, a discussion of various elements from microscopic to global which affect the health and growth of plants, and some just-above basic level information on planting and maintaining your garden. There is a strong tone of love, peace, and cooperation with nature and mention of some off-the-beaten-trail gardening techniques, such as "Lunar Gardening," but the author writes tastefully and even as someone who doesn't believe in evolution and feels the whole "global warming crisis" is more-than-a-tad blown out of proportion, I learned some interesting facts and found it to be a surprisingly casual & enjoyable read considering botany isn't one of those can't-wait-to-turn-the-page type subjects for me.
The remainder of the book is the reference section, in which each page is broken into thirds, allowing you to flip the top 1/3 of the page, the middle 1/3 of the page, or the bottom 1/3 of the page. The top 1/3 has 26 different plants that are above-ground companions, meaning they offer benefits above the soil-line, such as attracting beneficial insects or deterring pests. The middle 1/3 contains 26 central crops- common items that you want to grow and would be seeking companions for. The bottom 1/3 contains 25 below-ground (soil) companions, which offer benefits such as contributing nutrients to the soil. You simply flip the middle section to the vegetable (or fruit) you want to grow, and then match up color-coded dots to the companion plants for the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3. The more matching dots, the better a fit they are as companions. Really quite simple.
This book is a hard cover which serves as a binder, because when you open it, it contains a metal-comb binding. I have to say, although I was concerned the book might not take a beating from my 7 and 4 year olds checking it out, it has held up well with my coaching to be gentle. Why would my 4 and 7 year olds want to look through my gardening book when we literally have HUNDREDS of children's books on the shelf a few feet away? Two reasons: First, this one is NEW. Second (and more relevant to you), the pictures are abundant, colorful and charmingly simple in a way that invites curiosity and appreciation for the beauty of God's creation. The only thing that I think would make this more complete & helpful would be if there were somehow an abbreviated chart which showed beneficial companion plants to their "main crop" that fit onto one or two pages so that individuals could photo copy it to a page for their own persona use/notes when planning their garden. It sure would be handy to have that along at the store so if they didn't sell a specific seed you could easily double-check the next-best match.
***In the interest off full-disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. I wasn't required to write a positive review, the opinions are mine.