One Day in the Tropical Rain Forest

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The tropical rain forest is Tepui's home. He treasures the lush, humid land where capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths, jaguars, scarlet macaws, and a splendid array of other wildlife share a rich symbiotic existence. But today is doomsday for young Tepui's beloved rain forest. A caravan of bulldozers and trucks will soon arrive from Caracas to level the forest.

Determined to stop the tragic destruction of his world, Tepui accepts a challenge as...

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The tropical rain forest is Tepui's home. He treasures the lush, humid land where capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths, jaguars, scarlet macaws, and a splendid array of other wildlife share a rich symbiotic existence. But today is doomsday for young Tepui's beloved rain forest. A caravan of bulldozers and trucks will soon arrive from Caracas to level the forest.

Determined to stop the tragic destruction of his world, Tepui accepts a challenge as mysterious and magnificent as the rain forest itself: to discover a nameless butterfly.

From a microscopic look at a colony of vicious army ants to a timely overview of the rain forest's vital role in the Earth's ecology, Newbery Medalist Jean Craighead George takes readers on an unforgettable journey through a wondrous tropical landscape.

The future of the Rain Forest of the Macaw depends on a scientist and a young Indian boy as they search for a nameless butterfly during one day in the rain forest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It takes a few pages to catch the rhythm of naturalist George's new book, but once readers do, they'll find themselves drawn in. Set on the banks of the Orinoco River, the fictionalized tale chronicles the efforts of Tepui, an Indian boy, to help a group of scientists find a new species of butterfly, thereby saving the Venezuelan rain forest from being bulldozed into oblivion. The tension created by this literary device--which in the hands of a less skillful writer could have appeared contrived--adds considerable impact to this timely, well-wrought work. George imparts an amazing amount of information about these fast-disappearing tracts of land as she carefully describes the delicate ecological balance of exotic flora and fauna--from flesh-eating army ants to the vast colonies of butterflies that flutter high above the canopy of trees. Children will come away from this book not only with a satisfying story, but more importantly, with a clear understanding of why these areas are worth preserving. Ages 9 - 12. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Glen Mayers
Dr. Rivero and a team of scientists come to the rain forest to rescue it from a tree cutting company. Tepui, an Indian boy from the Venezuelan forest, becomes Dr. Rivero's personal guide in the search for the one thing that will save this rain forest-an unnamed butterfly. The author is an ace when it comes to detail in this book. She creates suspense that will keep children turning the pages until they learn the fate of the rain forest. Also in the series are: One Day in the Alpine Tundra, One Day in the Desert, One Day in the Jungle, One Day in the Prairie, and One Day in the Woods.
School Library Journal
George has again taken a microscope to a typical day in a natural region. An Indian boy leads a scientist who is trying to locate a previously unknown butterfly that the scientist hopes will halt the destruction of this particular rain forest. At the same time, a horde of army ants moves across the forest floor; a sloth comes down from a tree for its weekly visit; and other animals go about their daily business. Such ordinary happenings make an exciting sequence of events that holds readers' attention as they also learn facts about the flora and fauna of the rain forest. There may not be enough material here for a report, but the book is an example of nonfiction writing at its best, for readers learn facts and get a sense of the rain forest in diary form rather than straight factual writing. The description of the relationship between the destruction of the rain forest and the greenhouse effect is easy to understand, and the index helps readers wanting specific facts. The drawings are clear, but do not expand the textual information. --Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elem . School, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780690047691
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1990
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Craighead George (1919-2012) was the beloved award-winning author of more than one hundred books for children and young adults. Her novel Julie of the Wolves won the Newbery Medal and her novel My Side of the Mountain received a Newbery Honor. She also wrote acclaimed picture books that celebrate the natural world, including The Wolves Are Back; Luck; Morning, Noon, and Night; and Everglades. A Special Gift for Grammy is one of the last books Jean Craighead George worked on before she passed away.

Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are an illustration team with more than forty picture books in print. Their work has garnered rave reviews and won awards. Their books include My Many Colored Days, Bebop Express, I Walk at Night, New York's Bravest, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Salamander Room. They were also concept artists for Pixar's Toy Story and A Bug's Life. They live in California with their son.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Tepui, a slender Indian boy, rolled out of his hammock in a round thatched hut in a Venezuelan forest. He picked up his blowgun, darts in a quiver, and his pack. Tiptoeing past his sleeping parents, he found his bow and two arrows. Quietly he left his hut in a village on the banks of the Orinoco River. He hurried to the state road and strode off along it. It was 6:29 A.M., the moment of sunrise.

Tepui and his people lived in a tropical rain forest, a community of interlocking parts as complex and miraculous as life itself.

On this day, as every day, a number of the parts began to act upon each other in the grand plan of life in the tropical rain forest.

6:45 A.M.

Tepui left the dirt road and entered the Tropical Rain Forest of the Macaw. He walked on a well-worn footpath called the Trail of the Potoo. It was named for a bird that puts its beak up in the air when it is sitting still. In this pose it is hard to tell the big bird from a tree stub.

Under the trunk of a fallen tree miles ahead of Tepui, a jaguar opened her eyes. She had black rosettes on yellowish-brown fur, and a massive head, shoulders, and forefeet. She was listening to a frightening sound.

A colony of vicious army ants, one million strong, crackled as the ants stirred like a pot of boiling water in their bivouac between two rocks.

Not far from the ants two beetles the size of baseballs tapped the ground with their forefeet and clanged their fingersized pincers. They were the tropical rain forest's gigantic Hercules beetles, and they resembled knights in armor.

Near the beetles, a soldier termite entered a tunnel into his colony's nest, alarge roundish blob on the side of a tree. The black, hard nest was made of chewed wood cemented with termite fecal glue. The soldier closed the tunnel by plugging it with his large head. His gunlike snout was pointed outward. Through it he could shoot a noxious chemical at the birds and beasts that eat termites. He sat still. The night's battles were over, the day's defense work was beginning.

Uphill from the termites, a butterfly split the hard outer coat of her chrysalis and poked a foot into the warm, damp air. She had no name.

Not far from her the elegant great kiskadee whistled two melodious notes, flew out, caught a moth, and flew back to his perch.

The treetop birds awoke and flashed their brightly colored feathers. Yellow orioles, blue and yellow, and green, blue, black, and red tanagers preened their wings and flew. Purple honeycreepers, blue fruiteaters, iridescent hummingbirds, multicolored toucans, and wood warblers flew through the top limbs of the forest.

A scarlet macaw hooked her beak on a vine and pulled herself abreast of her last year's nest. She looked into a dark deep hole in the tallest tree in the Tropical Rain Forest of the Macaw. Spring was coming, and it was time to clean her nest. The big parrot was mostly red. Her lower back and outer tail feathers were bright blue. Yellow feathers tipped with green gleamed on her wings. She opened them. Theyspread threefeet from tip to tip. When she flew, she looked like a fiery meteor. Below her a flock of orange-winged parrots began to chatter. A pair of blue and green parakeets touched beaks in a bower of silver webbing. It had been spun during the night by a busy spider. Like the millions of other webs draped through the forest, this one sparkled with raindrops.

The mate of the scarlet macaw called to her, and she joined him on the flight to the cashew trees along the Orinoco River. Thirty other macaws joined them, streaking the sky red as they flew off to eat.

Above the macaw nest hole a threetoed sloth hung on the underside of a branch. A baby clung to her chest. He poked his head out of her fur, on which mosslike algae grew. The baby snorted. His eyes were large and scrunched close to his nose and mouth. The fuzzy infant's face looked very much like a turtle's.

The mother was an apartment house. In her long fur lived not only plants but some ninety little creatures. Among the tenants were pretty sloth moths, glossy beetles, and numerous pink or white mites. None could survive anywhere but on a sloth in a tropical rain forest. They were stirring. This was a big day for the tenants. The sloth was going to make her weekly trip to the floor of the forest, and they, of course, were going with her.

In another tree a little capuchin monkey, who was almost a year old, unwrapped her tail from around a limb and wrapped it around her mother, who rubbed her own tummy and yawned.

Ahead of Tepui in the Science Laboratory of the Tropical Rain Forest, a lanky scientist swung out of his hammock and stretched. Dr. Juan Rivero was one of five biologists who were studying the plants and animals of the forest before it was destroyed.

This day, the twenty-first day of January, was doomsday for the Tropical Rain Forest of the Macaw. Eleven bulldozers and four trucks carrying twenty chain sawyers were rumbling along. For days they had been moving down the highway from the city of Caracas on the hills above the Gulf of Mexico. The ominous caravan was headed for the state of Monagas and Tepui's tropical rain forest. Its mission was to cut down and bum the vines, flowers, and trees and to ready the land for crops.

The forest was home to millions of species of wild plants and animals. Many had never been seen by human eyes. The tangle of plants hid unknown creatures in the bracts and corollas of flowers...

One Day in the Tropical Rain Forest. Copyright © by Jean George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    Interesting Book

    We are not into environmental extremism--kill all the people to save the earth, and I don't think that Jean Craighead George is either. We understand that God made the earth for mankind to subdue and use, but at the same time we are to be good stewards of what God has put here for us. George writes an interesting story that can be useful in helping us to be better stewards.

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