Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhymeby Marianne Berkes
Teachers and parents, here is the easiest, most entertaining way ever to teach about this important habitat. The special talent of this author is entertaining kids while the adults think it is a lesson about the rainforest. Kids will sing, clap, and count their way among monkeys that hoot, ocelots that pounce, parrots that squawk, and boas that squeeze! It will not take much to have your child joyfully hooting and squawking too. And the illustrations are painstakingly all done in polymer clay and then photographed, giving a 3-D effect. They are truly remarkable, vividly conveying the abundant energy of a rainforest, and will inspire many an art project. Plus there are several pages of extension ideas for curriculum and art projects as well as resources on the web and elsewhere.
PreS - Gr 3 - Another variation on the familiar song, this one enumerates some of the unusual fauna of the rain forest. It not only spotlights some of the animals-marmosets, parrots, honey bears, leaf cutter ants, etc.-but also offers pertinent information on the habitat. Berkes describes the different layers of the rainforest and its importance to our global ecology, and suggests movement activities for children to act out the rhyme. The unusual and colorful illustrations are made with polymer clay and then photographed, giving them a three-dimensional look. Each spread has the text and a number on the left against a dark-green leaf background, and shows one animal family with the correct number of babies as well as several other sets of indigenous flora or fauna to count. A long double page shows all the levels of the rain forest in cross section, and children are challenged to count the animals previously encountered and now hanging on the vines and hiding underneath the trees, etc. This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
- Dawn Publications
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Meet the Author
Marianne Berkes has spent much of her life with young children as a teacher, children's theater director and children's librarian. She knows how much children enjoy brilliantly illustrated counting books with predictable text about real animals. Recently retired to write full time and visit schools and libraries, she is also the author of the award-winning "Over" Series.; Jeanette Canyon creates her colorful and beautifully textured relief sculptures from polymer clay - the same medium she used in Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef. Unbounded imagination, a belief in unlimited creative possibilities, and with experience as a former arts educator of young children shape her innovative approach to award-winning picture books. Jeanette Canyon received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, where she resides with her husband Christopher Canyon-also a creator of many children's books. When she isn't working in her studio she spends her time visiting schools and libraries, and speaking at conferences.
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I am a sucker for signed books, so when I saw one of Marianne Berkes' books in a pamphlet of 100 Picture Books for Preschoolers, I just knew I could renew our acquaintance and have her sign a book or three for my son. Actually, Marianne is very gracious and would sign a book for anyone who asks. Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme was the book listed in the pamphlet, so I'll review it first. This book is deceptively simple. Marianne Berkes takes a simple tune (Over in the Meadow) and replaces the lyrics with counting verses about rainforest animals. Sounds pretty easy in theory, but not so much in practice. Anyway, it works very well in this book. Jeanette Canyon uses polymer clay to create brilliant, dimensional illustrations. I'm not sure I would like that style of illustration in too many books, but with the rainforest book, it is a perfect marriage. When I was reading this book for the first time to my two-year-old son, he walked over and pointed to the 4 on the leaf and said "four". I thought he was a genius. Then he pointed at the 5 and said "four" and the six. Oh well. So much for great expectations. :)
Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
Children's librarian and teacher Marianne Berkes presents Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, a softcover picturebook that teaches young readers the numbers one through ten with an engaging, singsong rhyme about various wild animals of the rainforest. "Over in the jungle / Wearing wings of shiny blue / Lived a morpho butterfly / And her little morphos two. // 'Flit,' said the mother. / 'We flit,' said the two. / So the flitted and they fluttered / Wearing wings of shiny blue." Of particular note are the brilliant color illustrations, created as textured relief sculptures in polymer clay by extraordinarily talented artist Jeanette Canyon. Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy studying the amazing, vividly colorful artworks; the last few pages of Over in the Jungle offer some fun facts about rainforest animals, as well as tips from both the author and the artist about the process used to create the book. Highly recommended.
Did you ever think that you would like to take a trip to a tropical rainforest to see all the exotic animals and strange plants there? Like its predecessor, Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef, this book follows the rhyming pattern of the popular nineteenth century song "Over in the Meadow" by Olive A. Wadsworth to describe various jungle animal parents, their babies, and what they do. One marmoset swings. Two morpho butterflies flit. Three parrots squawk. Four leaf cutter ants scurry. Five honey bears scramble. Six boas squeeze. Seven poison dart frogs hop. Eight ocelots pounce. Nine sloths creep. And ten howler monkeys hoot. Again, as author Marianne Berkes notes, "All the rainforest animals behave as they have been portrayed. That's a fact!" This is another "Sharing Nature With Children Book" from Dawn Publications, which is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth. The author has spent much of her life with young children as a teacher, children's theater director, and children's librarian, and knows that children enjoy brilliantly illustrated books with predictable text. Therefore, the book not only contains factual scientific information but weaves that material into a poetic text that is fun to read and reinforces counting too. And it has curriculum components in the back about the rainforest habitat and animal families. Illustrator Jeanette Canyon once more provides striking relief sculptures with polymer clay. Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme has deservedly won several awards, including the iParenting Media Award. It was a joy for me to read and review it.