A child-and-caregiver pair hike through the South American rainforest, observing animals in their natural habitats.
The “symphony of sound” up in the trees prompts the child narrator to ask what lives above. Tito answers that above them is “a whole hidden world” where monkeys, insects, and birds live. As they hike along the trail, each spread shows specific animals “up in the trees” and “down in the forest,” doing what they do best. Oropendolas “gurgle in low-swinging nests”; a parrot snake hunts frogs on the trail. The child and Tito climb to a hanging bridge that crosses the river; beneath them, crocodiles bask in the sun and an emerald basilisk skims the water’s surface while they walk “eye to eye with capuchin monkeys” swinging through branches. The afternoon brings rain and a snack of dried fruit. The evening brings new sounds to the forest as dark settles in and the child and Tito leave the last bridge, heading home, where Abuelita and a supper of arroz con pollo await. The colorful, matte illustrations alternate views of the ground, the sky, the river, and the treetops from various vantage points; close-ups and silhouettes of animals in action channel the mystery and magic of the natural world. Part outdoor adventure, part animal nonfiction book, this exciting blend will delight children interested in fact and fiction. Extensive endnotes offer more information about the animals. The only humans pictured are Tito and the narrator, both characters of color.
Draws you right in.(author’s note, further reading, sources) (Picture book. 4-9)