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LOOKING FOR JAGUAR by Susan Katz Kirkus Star


and Other Rain Forest Poems

by Susan Katz & illustrated by Lee Christiansen

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-029791-3
Publisher: Greenwillow

In the most compelling tour for younger children since Jane Yolen’s Welcome to the Green House (1993), Katz presents 19 wonderfully evocative glimpses, mostly in rhyme, of rain-forest flora and fauna. Encountering huge spiders, rainbow-fledged birds, walking trees, a giant armadillo sporting a “hundred-tooth smile and his own suit of armor, / He’s really a one-in-a-million-y charmer” and other memorable denizens, Katz transports readers to exotic, mysterious locales, “Where purple flowers float like butterflies, / We listen for the jaguar’s grunting call. / The air’s so hot and wet it’s hard to breathe. / The darkness seems alive—it watches us.” Using plenty of greens and yellows, Christiansen provides a dense, leafy setting through which a tiger and an immense anaconda glide, while a gigantic rafflesia flower swells on the ground, and birds and reptiles flit about the high canopies. Though she casts an occasional glance elsewhere, Katz generally stays in the South and Central American rain forests: Still, capped by specific notes and a tour of rain forests worldwide, her insights make essential reading for every child. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)