Author: Lynne Cherry
Guided Reading Level: RAge Range: 4 - 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Series: Rise and Shine
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First edition (March 13, 2000)
The author and artist Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate her gorgeous picture book The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest (1990). One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how "all living things depend on one another" . . . and it works. Cherry’s lovingly rendered colored pencil and watercolor drawings of all the "wondrous and rare animals" evoke the lush rain forests, as well as stunning world maps bordered by tree porcupines, emerald tree boas, and dozens more fascinating creatures.
Awards: IRA Teacher’s Choice (1991), ABA’s Pick of the Lists, Reading Rainbow Review Book, NSTA-CBC Outstanding Trade Book for ChildrenIf a tree falls in the forest... someone or something will always be there to hear it. Many, many creatures will feel the effects when their source of sustenance and shelter falls to the earth. So when a man is sent into the Amazon rain forest one day, under instructions to chop down a great kapok tree, many eyes watch him nervously. It's not long before he grows tired, though, and the "heat and hum" of the rain forest lulls him to sleep. One by one, snakes, bees, monkeys, birds, frogs, and even a jaguar emerge from the jungle canopy to plead with the sleeping ax-man to spare their home. When the man awakens, startled at all the rare and marvelous animals surrounding him, he picks up his ax as if to begin chopping again, then drops it and walks away, presumably never to return.
Unfortunately, there's always someone else who is willing to take his place, but the message of this environmental book is plain: Save the rain forest! The story itself is not overly compelling, but each personalized entreaty from the animals provides an accurate and persuasive scientific argument for preserving nature's gifts. Lynne Cherry's fertile watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations, including a map of the tropical rain forests of the world, are vivid and colorful. A fine starting point for a discussion about conservation. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
Package Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.2 inches