The rainforest is one of Earth’s most significant and most interesting habitats and this good value paperback edition of a book originally published in 2004 is welcome. Manning and Granström first carry out meticulous research and then think deeply about how to share knowledge and ideas in ways that appeal to their young readers. Here the ‘voices’ of the people who live in the rainforest invite young readers into the book. Children learn about the plants and animals there from the point of view of the people who rely on them for their survival. Vibrant pictures, helpfully annotated in distinctive hand lettering, show the rainforest’s rich natural resources; new things are being discovered all the time – not least things to put into medicines which will help everyone. The complexity of the issues – rainforests grow mainly in poor countries where cutting down trees makes money – come over in a way children will understand. Unwise clearance and some farming initiatives risk harming the rainforests: it is unlikely they would regrow once the soil is washed away without the trees to hold it together. So the book’s message is that we need to seek ways of making the most of the forests without destroying them.
It is hard to imagine a more evocative, atmospheric celebration of the rainforest for young children than this book. It is a must for every primary school library and an excellent book for a child to receive as a present.