The Umbrella

( 3 )


A walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest provides a wonderfully lush setting for Jan Brett's beloved animal illustrations. When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by—from the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more. It gets so crowded in the umbrella that there isn't even enough room for a little hummingbird! So over the umbrella tumbles, everyone falls out, and poor Carlos comes back ...

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A walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest provides a wonderfully lush setting for Jan Brett's beloved animal illustrations. When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by—from the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more. It gets so crowded in the umbrella that there isn't even enough room for a little hummingbird! So over the umbrella tumbles, everyone falls out, and poor Carlos comes back wondering why he didn't see any animals all day.
In the spirit of Jan Brett's The Mitten and The Hat, this cheerful tale of escalation will have readers poring over every illustration for the world of details Jan packs in. With its classic story, exotic jungle setting, and brilliantly colorful menagerie, The Umbrella is sure to take its place among Jan's many family favorites.

Carlos goes into the cloud forest to look for animals, but he manages to miss seeing them even though they have an adventure with his umbrella.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Jan Brett extends her artistic palette to include tropical greens and bright colors in this majestic picture book set in Costa Rica. Following Carlos, who walks into the cloud forest with a leafy umbrella one day, Brett introduces her legions of fans to the wonders of the habitat, featuring a bevy of brilliantly colored animals that hop into Carlos's umbrella as it floats down the river. As readers have come to appreciate, Brett's books often include some final mishap, and this one is no different: The umbrella gets too full, and a big "ker-SPLASH!" forces the animals to jump for safety as an unaware Carlos misses all the activity below. In her familiar format of large scenes accompanied by smaller vignettes on each side -- this time with leaf frames -- Brett brings home the wonders of Costa Rica, showcasing trees that drip moisture to the ground below, eye-catching tree frogs, toucans, quetzals, and other spectacular rain forest animals. As with more recent books, the author has pushed her own envelope to encompass more than Scandinavian fare, and audiences are bound to clamor over this tropical treasure. Readers can only wonder: With so many geographical lessons under her belt so far, where will Brett take readers next? Matt Warner
Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica (according to the jacket flap), Brett's watercolor and gouache art grabs the spotlight in this tale of young Carlos, who carries an umbrella made of giant lush leaves into the forest. He sets it down in order to climb the branches of a fig tree, hoping to catch sight of certain creatures from a higher elevation. Ironically, in a cumulative plot reminiscent of The Mitten, the critters he aims to spy among them a toucan, kinkajou, tapir, monkey and jaguar accumulate inside his umbrella below. Brett depicts the main action in a wide horizontal scene on each spread, while leaf-shaped side panels reveal the boy scaling the tree, and preview the next animal to drop into the umbrella. Brett's vivid details the markings of the tapir's fur, the contrasting reds and greens of the quetzal's feathers bring the exotic creatures to life. After the monkey flings the umbrella into the river and climbs aboard, the jaguar jumps onto it and the other animals think, "Just don't eat us up!" A dramatic aerial view shows the group floating down river; what rocks the boat is a tiny hummingbird, which alights upon the umbrella handle. The creatures reach the riverbank just as the boy abandons his treetop perch, wondering where all the animals are. The author sprinkles this amiable, smoothly recounted tale with Spanish words. Yet more memorable than her narrative are Brett's paintings an eye-pleasing introduction to exquisite rainforest residents and vegetation. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Deep in the cloud forest, Carlos decides to climb a tall fig tree for a better view of the animals he is sure are there. Meanwhile, into a small puddle in the leafy green umbrella he leaves behind leaps a tiny tree frog. He is not there alone for long, however. A toucan eager for a fallen fig joins him. Then, one by one, in the pattern set by Brett's The Mitten, Kinkajou, Tapir and Quetzal bird come inside, all adding to the crowding and complaints. When monkey tosses the umbrella into the river and jumps in, there is real wailing, followed by fear as Jaguar adds his weight. Tiny Hummingbird perching on the handle is finally more than the umbrella can handle. Everyone falls out, so when Carlos finds it on the shore he can only wonder where all the forest creatures have gone. The tale ends with Froggy happily alone back in a puddle in the umbrella. Many Spanish words are woven easily into the humorous tale. Brett's visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica is reflected in the interwoven multi-shaped and variegated jungle foliage and resplendent flowers, from jacket/cover through end-papers on into the story. The main actions take place in large scenes unevenly framed with meandering vines that also form small flanking vignettes. On one side Carlos is followed in his climb up the tree while the other previews the next arrival in the umbrella. With gouache and watercolors Brett creates sensuous amalgams of plants and animals as her character interactions make us smile. 2004, GP Putnam's Sons, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-In Jan Brett's book about rain forests (Putnam, 2004), young Carlos heads out into the cloud forest with his green-leafed umbrella in search of tropical animals. While he is climbing a fig tree, his abandoned upside-down umbrella becomes home to a tree frog, then other animals settle in-a toucan, a jaguar, a tapir, and more. It is the monkey who sets the fully-occupied umbrella afloat. A hummingbird, looking for a rest, proves to be the final straw and capsizes this untraditional vessel. While Carlos never sees the animals he seeks, viewers will find them hiding in the pictures. Carlos takes his umbrella home where it again begins to attract occupants for a nice circular ending. The female narrator reads the story with expression, creating a different voice for each character. Brett's detailed illustrations are perfect for the close-up iconographic treatment they receive here. Original music lilts in the background. There is some Spanish dialogue mixed in, with English included when needed for clarity. The pacing is excellent, and there is enough humor here to make young viewers giggle. A nice literature tie-in with rain forest studies.--Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Carlos makes an umbrella from shiny, green fronds to go into the cloud forest, hoping to see many animals. When the only sounds he hears are the drips from the tall trees, he climbs up a giant fig tree to see better, dropping his umbrella upside down on the ground. As the drips collect inside it, a series of animals tumbles in: Froggy, Toucan, Kinkajou, Baby Tapir, Quetzal, and-finally-Monkey, who tosses the umbrella into the river, where it starts to sink. Jaguar pounces on it as it floats by, but when Hummingbird lands on the handle, it's this tiny creature that makes everyone fall out-and the umbrella drifts back to shore. Up in the fig tree, Carlos wonders disappointedly where all the animals are. Insets of leaf shapes telescope the clever contrapuntal action of Carlos's climb and the next creature, while lush watercolor-and-gouache illustrations in vivid greens and bright colors create a diorama effect. The blurb cites the story as a complement to The Mitten (1989) and its snowy setting. Indeed, Brett surpasses herself in this handsomely designed and beautifully executed appreciation of so different a setting. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242151
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/9/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 113,923
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.57 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2007

    Miss what you're looking for

    I read this book to my little boy and he couldn't understand why Carlos missed seeing all of those animals right under his nose. I explained that 'Carlos was looking too closely.' What a great story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2004

    An Okay Book

    Temper Temper ia a story inside another story. I thought that the children that wrote these plays worked hard but I didnt really think the play was all that exciting.I didnt think it was exciting because it wasnt that funny but there were some parts where I could change my voice to make the part funny but I really dont know

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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