Children's LiteratureStudents studying the biomes of the world are always fascinated by the tropical rainforest. This part of the world is home to many exotic animals and plants. The trees' highest branches form the upper canopy of the rainforest. These branches are so thick they form a roof over the forest and block out much of the sunlight. The forest floor is covered with rotting fruit, branches, and leaves that fall from the trees above. Spiders, lizards and small mammals roam this surface looking for food, and often become food for snakes and larger mammals. Each double-page layout is filled with pictures of the animals and plants that inhabit this environment. Each picture is explained, and bold-faced words are included in a glossary. In addition, there are two fold out sections that can be used for class discussion. One is of the swamplands and one is of the rainforest. An index is included. Although this is an instructional book, students will also enjoy just looking at all the illustrations. I highly recommend this for upper elementary and middle school collections. This is one in the "Nature Unfolds" series. 2001, Crabtree Books, $22.60 and $9.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
Nature Unfolds the Tropical Rainforestby Gerard Cheshire
School Library JournalGr 4-8-Each volume opens with two foldout panoramas of related ecological vistas, one horizontal, the other vertical. The first book includes the Amazon River basin and the rainforest while the second explores the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Following each foldout is a series of spreads that provide more detail about one quadrant of the larger work. For example, the Amazon swamplands are subdivided into estuary, wetlands, marsh land, and forest edge. A paragraph summarizes the characteristics of each area. The accompanying pages contain numerous small pictures of and a few sentences about indigenous animals. Orr's masterful illustrations fill the pages with color and movement and unflinchingly depict birth and death. Although the foldout views show the relative sizes of animals, those proportions are lost in the close-ups, where an anaconda doesn't appear much larger than a spoonbill. Keys to each panoramic scene are included. Libraries owning Moira Butterfield and Orr's Nature Cross-Sections (DK, 1995) plus introductions to the polar regions and/or tropical rainforest can probably forgo these titles. However, where reader interest or curriculum requirements warrant additional coverage, these books could serve as supplementary materials.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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