An earnest fictionalized plea and fund-raiser for the rain forest. Lokuli, overhearing his worried father say that ""the Pygmies have no meat to trade,"" decides to revive a tribal custom described by his grandmother: he'll provide food by hunting in the forest that, for some unexplained reason, is now forbidden. Most of the book describes the animals he sees along the way, lovingly illustrated in a realistic style. He has a somewhat mystical encounter with a black panther, who leaves him the carcass of a duiker to carry home, earning his father's thanks instead of anger at his disobedience. Since Lokuli repeatedly stops to observe, the story seems overlong and the situation unmotivated and contrived. Still, the book serves as an attractive album of wildlife, identified in a concluding key to the illustrations. A tape included with the trade edition is narrated by Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir; it also features a charming musical piece composed of jungle sounds combined with instruments. Glossary.