This new entry in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series is a Stage 2 title exploring the busy and diverse world of the rain forest.
In a format reminiscent of the Magic Schoolbus books, an adult leader accompanies an African-American boy and a Caucasian girl on a trip into the rain forest, with sidebars, fact boxes, picture captions, diagrams and speech balloons rounding out the information presented in the text. Readers learn how this habitat differs from forests in temperate climates and visit the three levels (and their various plants and animals)—understory, canopy and emergent layer—along with the three characters; don’t forget your climbing harness! Bolded words are defined within the text, and readers are barraged with fascinating facts: Ants make up more than half the insect species found in the rain forest (which explains why they get so many spreads). A labelled diagram shows the interconnectedness of the rain forest’s parts, and two final spreads focus on threats to the world’s rain forests as well as the benefits gained by protecting them. Backmatter invites readers to make a terrarium and lists various places in the U.S. where they can visit rain-forest exhibits. Dominated by greens and browns, Duke’s friendly cartoons effectively communicate the immense variety of plant and animal life found in rain forests and feature cutaway views and close-ups in several spreads.
A fascinating and solid introduction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)