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From The CriticsIn the Rainforest describes life in the rain forests of Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. The tone of the book is quickly established on the inside cover, with vibrant colors and an intriguing picture of a white and yellow striped snake coiled on the dark orange fruit of a large green plant. The variety of the wildlife, as well as the rich primary colors of the rainbow lorikeet and the often-photographed red-eyed green tree frog, lend their colors to this visually pleasing little book.
The organization of the book is similar to that of the other books in the series. The text starts with a description of a rain forest and then describes rain forests on four different continents. The authors make clear that some of the insects and animals may be indigenous to one type of rain forest and even to one locale within a given rain forest. The remaining chapters of the book describe rain-forest plants, plant partners, moving through the trees, predators and prey, defense, nighttime animals, courtship, nests, eggs and young, people of the rain forest, and protecting the rain forest. Most of the descriptions do not mention a specific rain forest, and the implication is that the animals and insects are generic to all rain forests. Unlike the presentation in the earlier part of the book, these descriptions are misleading and do not help the reader compare and contrast life in the rain forests of the world. Instead, the reader must guess that the South American margay may not be in Africa or that the Cofan Indian from Ecuador may not follow the same traditions and wear the same ceremonial costumes as someone from the rain forest in Africa. A young reader with limited knowledge of thetopic would be hard pressed to draw the right conclusions.
The incomplete information presented relegates this volume to a supplement to other sources about rain forests. The book provides interesting details about life there, but it is neither complete nor clear enough to be used as a primary source of information. Its strength is that it provides excellent visual depictions of different types of life in the rain forests of the world. (from The Natural World Series.) Acceptable, Grades 3-8. REVIEWER: Dr. Linda Hummel Fitzharris (College of Charleston)