Gr 2-4-Collard introduces young readers to the world of Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest. He highlights unusual plants and animals and explains the interrelationships among the forest's inhabitants. His concern for the area's ecology is apparent in his account of the disappearance of species, notably the golden toad. A list of books, Web sites, and environmental organizations offers additional sources of information. Rothman's detailed acrylic paintings, dominated by rich greens and browns, cover the better part of each spread. The illustrations, especially of cloud forest birds, help children appreciate the unique features of the area. Older readers might enjoy Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's Children Save the Rain Forest (Dutton, 1996), which documents efforts to preserve rain forest habitat in the surrounding area of Costa Rica. Although valuable for reports, Collard's book will interest browsers as well.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
paper: 0-88106-985-8 The author of Making Animal Babies (p. 556) and other nature titles takes the reader to the rain forest of Costa Rica and describes the plants and animals living there. The text, printed over a solid color panel, is limited to a single column on the edge of each painting. Though long for reading aloud, the descriptions are lively and detailed. For example, "Unlike most other birds, bellbirds and quetzals have big mouths, which allow them to swallow wild avocados whole." Or, "Squeezing a moss-covered branch is like squeezing a soaked sponge; icy water trickles down your arm." The dark, lush, richly detailed paintings, which comprise most of each layout, capture the mood of the rain forest, though sometimes it is hard to locate the dozens of plants and animals in each panel, some with labels, but often without. The author occasionally provides scientific names and at other times uses common names. Readers may struggle to find Norantea costaricensis or the Tayra in other sources. Creatures are not drawn to scale so a golden toad in the foreground appears larger than a person in the background. Important details are lost in the gutter, when the painting spans the double page. The author concludes with places to write for more information, a list of Web sites, further reading, a map of the region, and a brief glossary. While the author does not provide enough information on the rain forest for school reports, he captures the flavor of this rich and alien environment. (Nonfiction. 8-10)