A little girl finds brightly colored animals playing in a jungle tree in this peek-through-the-hole board book.
A pale-skinned girl in a green dress spies something blue as she leaves her tree swing. “What could it be?” The work’s round hole reveals a few blue morpho butterflies, and a page turn shows a swarm of them fluttering around the happy girl. As she returns to her swing, she spots something red. Through the hole, a red bird (a scarlet macaw) is clearly visible, but the page turn reveals four of them, one of which has landed on the girl’s arm. Now with butterflies and macaws swinging with her, the girl notices two green frogs, and several green amphibians join their game, followed by “orange monkeys” and “brown kitties” (presumably black jaguar cubs, given that all the other animals in the book are South American). But when the girl picks up one of the cubs (“Play with me!”), the mother jaguar gives a loud roar and the swing breaks. The girl looks unafraid, however, and despite climbing vines to avoid further angering the adult jaguar, she and her animal friends all end up high in the tree branches as a single community. The South American setting lends itself well to illustrator Vigovszky’s gorgeous colors and the concept-book aspect of Craig’s (Oh So Quiet, 2016, etc.) rhyming text. But presenting most of the animals at ground level rather than in the canopy or higher may misrepresent rain forest ecosystems to the youngest readers. That quibble aside, the peeking holes should delight lap readers, especially toddlers, who are sure to love picking out the colors and the animals with their parents. The girl’s expressions are full of sheer fun, and her smiles are infectious. Craig’s rhymes are as rhythmic and well-designed as ever, repeating phrases to help youngsters begin to read or chime in with parents. The vocabulary proves very accessible, with the author’s choices ideal for learning to match colors and animals.
A clever tale full of vibrant rain forest creatures that toddlers should certainly enjoy.