Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE FOREST IN THE CLOUDS by Sneed B. Collard III

THE FOREST IN THE CLOUDS

By Sneed B. Collard III (Author) , Michael Rothman (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-88106-985-X
Publisher: Charlesbridge

The author of Making Animal Babies (p. 556) and other nature titles takes the reader to the rain forest of Costa Rica and describes the plants and animals living there. The text, printed over a solid color panel, is limited to a single column on the edge of each painting. Though long for reading aloud, the descriptions are lively and detailed. For example, “Unlike most other birds, bellbirds and quetzals have big mouths, which allow them to swallow wild avocados whole.” Or, “Squeezing a moss-covered branch is like squeezing a soaked sponge; icy water trickles down your arm.” The dark, lush, richly detailed paintings, which comprise most of each layout, capture the mood of the rain forest, though sometimes it is hard to locate the dozens of plants and animals in each panel, some with labels, but often without. The author occasionally provides scientific names and at other times uses common names. Readers may struggle to find Norantea costaricensis or the Tayra in other sources. Creatures are not drawn to scale so a golden toad in the foreground appears larger than a person in the background. Important details are lost in the gutter, when the painting spans the double page. The author concludes with places to write for more information, a list of Web sites, further reading, a map of the region, and a brief glossary. While the author does not provide enough information on the rain forest for school reports, he captures the flavor of this rich and alien environment. (Nonfiction. 8-10)