Monday, July 18, 2005

The Living Rain Forest: An Animal Alphabet

Kratter, Paul. 2004. THE LIVING RAIN FOREST. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 1570916039 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]

From A to Z, the creatures of the rain forest are spotlighted in this coffee table worthy alphabet collection. E is for eagle, a harpy eagle to be precise, which swoops through the treetops hunting a variety of animals including monkeys, opossums, sloths, and snakes. O is for Okapi, which strips leaves from the branches with its long prehensile tongue. Y is for Yapok, an aquatic marsupial with webbed feet to help it swim. The animals come from a wide range of rainforest habitats, including Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands.

From the Anteater to the Zorro, Paul Kratter covers the more unusual animals of the tropical rainforest. Each animal is allotted a double page spread, with habitat, diet and behavior information on the left, and a colorful, detailed illustration on the right. Also included are the animal’s Latin names and size in inches. Unusual words like resplendent, prehensile, and proboscis are defined after the passage in which they are used. Lots of white space on each page, and short digestible paragraphs that are easy to read offer a perfect starting place to spark further projects or rainforest research. Kratter includes a page detailing the various layers of the rainforest canopy, as well as end pages with a world map showing the location of the world’s tropical rain forests and a legend of each animal’s country of origin.


Have children pick one of the animals in the book to learn more about and draw a picture. The animal drawings could be placed around the library or classroom to create a tropical rainforest habitat. Each child could “present” their animal, giving a few interesting facts.

Choose a different habitat and have children pick an animal to profile for an alphabet book. As a classroom/group project, or an ongoing library activity, each illustrated page would go into a compilation book of animals from A to Z.


Other books about the rainforest:
Brett, Jan. THE UMBRELLA. ISBN 0399242155
Cherry, Lynne. THE GREAT KAPOK TREE. ISBN 015200520X

By Tammy Korns

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