Follow an orangutan family through a day in the wildlife refuge.
Engle presents a delightful tale of five orangutans in a string of linked tankas, an ancient Japanese form of poetry consisting of counted syllables on five lines with minimal punctuation and capitalization. “cozy morning / baby orangutan cuddles / with mama / in their leafy nest / while a breeze sways green trees.” Big sister swings through the vines. Forest rangers bring juicy fruit. Humans watch from nearby. The rest of the family sleeps while big sister does “hip-hop / somersaults and cartwheels, / cha-cha-cha— / so many forms of orangudance / with lively arms and legs.” After a rainstorm, grandma orangutan joins in, and so do the watching children. Kurilla’s lush, digitally colored illustrations are as joyous and full of wonder as Engle’s verse. The simple expressions of the apes in the spot, full-bleed and double-page-spread illustrations bring these gentle giants to life. A tanka invitation to orangudance, orangutan facts and further reading, print and online, follow the text. A playful and instructive introduction to a little-known form of verse.
Listeners aping big sister’s dance will hoot for a repeat. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)