In the Rainforest

illus. by Kate Duke. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780060282592; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780064451970.
Gr 1–3—Rainforests have more animal species than anywhere in the world; such facts are just the tip of the iceberg in this intriguing, early reader glimpse into one of the world's most unique ecosystems. In Magic School Bus fashion, the narrative takes readers along with a group of young students and their guide as they journey through a tropical rainforest. Key terms about the ecosystem and the animals that live within it are discussed. Small side captions are used to further points, in most cases visually comparing rainforest trees and species to those of temperate climates. Difficult words appear in bold type and are defined within the text; there is no glossary. Overall, readers will be delighted with Duke's attention to species, specifically ants, which play an essential role in the functioning of the rainforest ecosystem. Duke concisely discusses not only species and their habitats but also the sustainability of the rainforest and finishes by touching on the manmade dangers that are putting rainforests at risk. A list of botanical gardens, museums, and zoos in the United States with rainforest exhibits that are open to the public is included. There is also a how-to guide about making a rainforest terrarium. A welcome addition, particularly for those early grade assignments on biomes.—Keith Klang, Port Washington Public Library, NY
This series entry takes readers on a tour through the rainforest, describing the special features of the area. Unfamiliar vocabulary is presented in bold-face type, defined, and repeated in the text. Cheerful mixed-media illustrations show the visiting children climbing trees (with ropes and clamps), journaling, and exploring the ecosystem. A list of rainforest exhibits is appended, as are directions for making a rainforest terrarium.
Welcome to a tropical rainforest. This latest series entry takes readers on a tour through the ecosystem, as two youngsters pack for, travel to, and walk through this unique habitat. The well-informed narrative voice describes the physical divisions of the rainforest, such as the canopy and the understory, while the children's tour guide (in conversational speech balloons) points out special features of the area, such as the living components of the leaf litter. Unfamiliar vocabulary, from canopy to epiphyte, is presented in bold-face type, defined, and repeated in the text, though there is no glossary or pronunciation guide. Brief sightings of a vast number of plants and animals introduce the abundant diversity of the rainforest.

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