From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5–Simon's short overview has a familiar format: large pages of oversize text facing sharp color photos of trees, animals, and plants provide an inviting overview of the biome that is populated by the largest variety of plant and animal species on the planet, with many of them yet to be discovered. Photo sources are identified, but there are no captions. Simon's careful descriptions hold a great deal of appeal for young people. He describes each of the rainforest's layers, along with some unusual plants, animals, and insects (e.g., bromeliads, sloths, pangolins, army ants) and explains that many medicines, oils, spices, fruits, and nuts are products of rainforest trees and plants. He also notes that areas of rainforest are being lost as they are cleared for farming or mining. This book is more focused and offers better descriptions than Darlene R. Stille's Tropical Rain Forests (Children's Press, 2000). Nancy Smiler Levinson's Rain Forests (Holiday House, 2008) and Gail Gibbons's Nature's Green Umbrella (HarperCollins, 1994) are suitable for younger children, and Philip Johansson's The Tropical Rain Forest: A Web of Life (Enslow, 2004) is the choice for reports.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Using Simon’s signature square format, large-print text, and excellent color photographs, this volume presents tropical rain forests. Clear and beautifully reproduced, the photos are the book’s most striking feature. The text provides a sound, basic introduction to tropical rain forests, their climate, their layered structure, and their vital importance to the world’s environment while stopping to look more closely at a few plants and many animals that live in there, such as army ants, piranhas, anacondas, frogs, parrots, bats, and sloths. Although it would sometimes be helpful to have captions that would identify the animals and plants pictured or give a better sense of their size, the book’s clean design is attractive, and the photos are often eye-catching. A glossary is appended. From a fine science writer, here’s an informative and visually rich introduction. Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan