In the current freshet of rainforest books, Yolen's rises to the surface not as a mere tour guide, but a gracious host to earth's ``dark green, / light green, / emerald green / bright green / copper green, / blue green, / ever-new green house.'' The author's atmosphere-laden free verse, which falls into unexpected, pleasing rhyme and repetition, correlates with Regan's sumptuous gouache artwork. While the text focuses on the relentless noise of forest inhabitants, borderless, painterly illustrations seem to spill off the pages in their intricate depictions of animals cavorting amidst tropical flora. The illustrations are just literal enough--allowing youngsters to match familiar and unknown species with names in the text. Yolen's language begs for reading aloud but for a common problem: her generous use of onomatopoetic translation of animal calls and other sounds may be difficult for readers to imitate without jarring the beauty and rhythm of the language. A stimulating challenge, however, in a strikingly vibrant package. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
- Kristin Harris
Lavishly illustrated with full-spread images of the rain forest, this small publication provides a lot of information for young children about the animal life in the rain forest. Intricate pictures of a wide range of animals and insects tell a story of abundant life in this "house." Blue hummingbirds, golden toads, lizards, silver fish, numerous kinds of monkeys and birds decorate these pages with brief text explaining who they all are, and the sounds that they make. The last page includes a statement about how rain forests are being destroyed, with an address for additional information. The illustrations are very impressive and invite continuing examination and discussion. 1997 orig.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-- Yolen explores a tropical rain forest in an entrancing poem full of internal rhyme, alliteration, and evocative images. ``But it is not all green/ in the hot green house:/ a flash of blue hummingbird,/ a splash of golden toad,/ a lunge of waking lizards,/ a plunge of silver fish . . . .'' These are only a few of the many creatures that the author catalogs and Regan depicts in her lush gouache paintings. The illustrations include all of the animals mentioned in the brief text, but readers are left to their own devices to identify the extra treats the artist includes. Ideal for introducing rain forest ecology in the primary grades, this book may be also be used by preschool teachers. Its many animal sounds and closeup views of snakes, sloths, and primates will perfectly suit their inquisitive students. A page of remarks about the continuing destruction of tropical rain forests and an address where youngsters may write to obtain information about preserving them is appended. The next best thing to a guided tour. --Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, CT grades 3-6
Dramatic paintings of tropical rain forest flora and fauna will entice children into this quiet plea to protect the environment. Capturing the scenery from a variety of perspectives--ground level, aerial, etc.--the resplendent double-page spreads, dappled with shadows, surround the reader with forest activity. Brilliant blue butterflies flit around bright orange blossoms, an ocelot prowls the forest floor, golden frogs slide into crystalline pools. The steady rhythm of Yolen's brief, evocative text gives voice to the noises of the "hot green house"--"the "kre-ek," "kre-ek", "kre-ek" of the keel-billed toucans" and "the "pick-buzz-hum-buzz" of a thousand thousand bees"--while a follow-up note reminds us how quickly the forest paradise will disappear if nothing is done to preserve it. A beautiful book, with pages large enough and artwork distinctive enough to make it valuable for group sharing.