The Great Kapok Tree
Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
Author: Lynne Cherry
Grade Level Equivalent:
Fables, Folk Tales and Myths
Endangered Animals and Welfare, Habitats and Ecosystems, Forests and Rainforests
In the dense, green Amazon rain forest, a man has come to chop down a great Kapok tree. When he lies down to rest, the creatures that inhabit the tree and the surrounding forest come to whisper in his ear, each in its own fashion begging him to spare their home. "You see, all living things depend on one another," buzzes the bee. A boa constrictor, monkeys, colorful birds, a small tree frog, a jaguar, tree porcupines, anteaters, and a three-toed sloth take their turns, each giving an additional reason for the man to abandon his mission and choose to preserve this unique environment. Finally, a young child of the Yanomamo tribe whispers, "Senior, when you awake, please look upon us all with new eyes." And that is exactly what the man does.
Award-winning author/illustrator Cherry visited Brazil's Amazon rain forest to research her illustrations for this moving environmental fable. Her lush, colored-pencil and watercolor pictures convey the magic and magnificence of the complex ecosystem, with plant and animal life of every form filling the pages elegantly and abundantly: Her thoughtful text conveys the surprising fragility of this awesome environment. Gorgeous endpapers include a map and labeled illustrations of a range of Amazon wildlife. When The Great Kapok Tree first came out, it was at the forefront of the ecological movement to save the rain forests: Today's young readers will feel its heartfelt message just as strongly.