From the Publisher
“In a beautiful, lush tribute to mangroves, the artwork lures the reader right into the midst of the scenery. While the message is clear, it is the splendid, realistic illustrations of marine life...that generate appreciation and awareness of the endangered mangroves. This is an ecology lesson, a teacher's aide, and a gratifying nature story.” Kirkus Reviews
“Cherry paints lustrous, detailed scenes that, together with her accessible narrative, will spark children's interest in a magnificent, endangered ecosystem.” Booklist
“A beautifully balanced format that combines panoramic illustrations with a storylike narrative. The information is well researched and clearly presented, and the lesson in ecology is an important one.” School Library Journal
Sounding the same environmental cautionary note she did for The Great Kapok Tree, Cherry turns her attention to the disappearing mangrove islands of the world's tropical lagoons. Readers follow the life cycle of a mangrove tree over 100 years, as it grows from a seedling into a large island of branches and prop roots. In a sometimes awkward narrative format that mixes an objective, observational style with anthropomorphized conversations of the creatures who call the tree home, Cherry alerts audiences to the many animals that depend upon this coastal habitat. "A mangrove tree crab scuttled by and exclaimed, 'How can a tree grow in this salty sea?' She climbed the seedling to eat its leaves and made the mangrove her home." While perhaps a vehicle for reaching a younger audience, the personified musings of sea creatures can seem oddly juxtaposed with the field guide like feel of the realistic, exquisitely detailed paintings of manatees, pelicans and other organisms that swim, fly and crawl across the serene full-bleed spreads. Elaborate, muted underwater scenes of undulating sea grass and aquaculture alternate with more vivid above-water illustrations. The tale comes to a climax when a hurricane hits, and the mangrove provides shelter for a variety of creatures, both above the water's surface and below. A concluding author's note sounds a more immediate alarm about this endangered habitat than does the story itself, urging readers to action. Colorful endpapers feature maps highlighting mangrove habitats worldwide. Ages 6-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Readers will marvel at the multitude of birds, animals, fish, and insects that call the lush mangrove their home. Protected habitat and access to abundant food resources invite new residents to locate among the roots and tangled branches. Jostled by a pelican alighting on a mangrove branch, a propagule (sprouting seed) drops, floats out to sea, and eventually attaches to a faraway lagoon. Over time, a network of roots anchors the little tree. More seeds drop and a tangle is created that beckons more and more creatures to join until a complex habitat is formed. There is security, too, as the tangle is pounded by tropical storms, but most seem to be survivors in the protection of their sheltered hideouts. Vibrant vocabulary portrays each animal's sense of joy, fear, and content while lavish, dense, and colorful illustrations appeal to the senses. Maps on the endpapers locate mangroves around the world. Issues of mangrove destruction are investigated and recommendations for supporting preservation are offered. Youngsters will enjoy the reading the text, then exploring each spread to locate the animals nestled in the cozy environment of the mangrove. 2004, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 5 to 8.
In a beautiful, lush tribute to mangroves, the artwork lures the reader right into the midst of the scenery. A seed from a mangrove tree floats on the sea until it comes to rest on the shore of a faraway lagoon where, over time, it becomes a mangrove island that shelters many birds and animals even during a hurricane. And the cycle begins again. While the message is clear, it is the splendid, realistic illustrations of marine life akin to the author's near classic The Great Kapok Tree (1990) that generate appreciation and awareness of the endangered mangroves. The only trees that can grow in salty seawater, they are being damaged by proliferating shrimp farms and tourist sites-Miami Beach used to be a mangrove island. The author's note explains how beneficial they are and makes a plea to save the mangroves by writing support letters. Despite the idea that the creatures that find a home in, on, or under the tree speak in first person, this is an ecology lesson, a teacher's aide, and a gratifying nature story. (Picture book. 6-9)