An accessible introduction to rain forests of the world by Senisi (Steel Drumming at the Apollo, 2015, etc.) featuring immersive animal and plant photographs by Marent (Butterflies, 2015, etc.).
The book takes place over the course of a single day and begins in the morning with a picture of sunlight shining down through the rain forest “canopy”—the first of the potentially challenging new vocabulary words for emergent readers, defined in a glossary. As the sun reaches its way down to the “understory” (another new vocabulary term), so do the photos, finding a katydid crawling on some twisted roots that are reminiscent of the work of M.C. Escher. As the light hits the forest floor, the waterfalls and brilliant, teal body of water almost glow. A proboscis monkey eats a leaf, which will make readers either laugh or draw back at its weird appearance. A lizard in India watches for predators, and immediately afterward, a snake eats a similar-looking lizard in Peru (“Watch out! Gulp!”). Next, a parade of creatures (including a single-file line of flatid leaf-bugs) shows how they protect themselves from predators: the bugs with their numbers, a caterpillar with its “stinging needles,” bright blue-green stink bugs with their smell, a gecko with its leaflike camouflage, and a frog with its poison. At noon, a photograph looking down at the rain forest introduces the “emergent layer” but doesn’t show the way that sparse trees stick up from the canopy to create it, which may confuse some young readers encountering the term for the first time. The day continues with more weird, graceful creatures in brilliant color, especially an orangutan mother and baby, sure to appeal to youngsters. Teachers may be concerned that not all these animals are neighbors in real life, but a helpful caption list at the end makes it clear where in the world each image was taken. The word-to-photo ratio makes this an excellent book to share in front of a class, and confident emergent readers will enjoy tackling the new words with only a little help.
A big win for classroom use or individual research thanks to its captivating photos and smooth introductions of new concepts.