Sunday, March 20, 2011

Picture Books: The Rainforest

Children’s imaginations are sure to soar as they discover and explore the rainforest. We’re Roaming in the Rainforest: An Amazon Adventure and The Rainforest Grew All Around are two remarkable picture books to use in your study of this extraordinary habitat.  

As the sun rises, three children trek through the colorful and lively rainforest, discovering amazing creatures of all kinds.  Written in playful poetic verse, rainforest animal habitats and behaviors are revealed.  For example:

“Fly,” squawk the parrots,
from branches and twigs.
“We’ll swoop down to breakfast
on ripe, juicy figs.” 

The illustrations (by Anne Wilson) are vivid and energetic.  Butterflies are fluttering in search of nectar.   Leaf-cutter ants are on parade.  Monkeys swing in the branches.  Other pictures depict a quieter side of the rainforest.  Sloths are yawning and dozing on trees.  A jaguar stalks its prey.  Otters cuddle together as they fall asleep.  As the day comes to a close, the children leave the lulling sounds of the night.  We’re Roaming in the Rainforest offers a sweeping look at a day in this mysterious and irreplaceable habitat.  Children will become familiar with many of the creatures that dwell there which include birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The concluding pages include a wealth of information about the Amazon Rainforest, the native people, conservation, and creatures. 

Rainforest.phpThe Rainforest Grew All Around (ages 4-9) by Susan K. Mitchell 
Using a clever adaption of the song “The Green Grass Grows All Around,” children learn about the rainforest from the floor to the canopy.  It begins with a seed of a Kapok tree which grows to become an essential habitat for many creatures—jaguar, emerald tree snake, leaf-cutter ants, sloth, poison dart frogs, toucans, bats, and many insects.  The poetic song is cumulative with a repeating stanza for choral reading: 

And by the snake
there crawled an ant…
the busiest ant
that you ever did see.

the ant by the snake,
and the snake by the vine,
and the vine near the cat,
and the cat in the tree,
and the tree from the seed,
and the seed in the ground,

and the rainforest grew
all around, all around;
the rainforest grew all around.

The wondrous world of the rainforest is depicted in the brilliant illustrations (by Connie McLennan).  Each page spread also has a side bar with fascinating facts about the plants, animals, and insects highlighted in the book.  The end pages provide activities, including a cookie recipe with many ingredients that come from the rainforest.  As always, Sylvan Dell provides an extensive across-the-curriculum teaching guide and other resources at their website to accompany your study and assist you in your lesson planning. 


  1. This is great! I'm doing a unit on the rain forest in my classroom. I appreciate the recommendations.

  2. I am glad I could help. Definitely check out Sylvan Dell's resources. They are awesome!


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