________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 3. . . .September 17, 2010


Looking Closely in the Rain Forest. (Looking Closely).

Frank Serafini.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2010.
40 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-55337-543-2.

Subject Headings:
Rain forests-Juvenile literature.
Photography-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***Ĺ /4



Bamboo is the largest type of grass in the world. It can grow over 30 m (100 ft.) high. Thatís taller than a two-story house! It is also the fastest growing plant in the world. Some kinds of bamboo can grow more than 1 m (3 ft.) in one day.

Bamboo is used for making many things, from toothpicks to houses. It is also used for food. Pandas love to eat bamboo. People eat young bamboo plants, called shoots.

Designed to arouse a childís curiosity about the natural environment, this book, the sixth of a series, takes readers on a journey of discovery through a rain forest habitat. Author-photographer Frank Serafini believes that looking closely at a natural object causes people to become more aware and that awareness leads, hopefully, to an understanding and an appreciation of nature and a desire to protect our fragile environment.

internal art     Through the magic of marvelous close-up photography, Serafini shows readers some detailed characteristics of a variety of plants and animals. In each case, he poses a question, in poem form, and offers two choices. For example, "Look very closely. What do you see? Sand dunes? Pussy willow? What could it be?" Readers are challenged to examine a portion of a photograph before guessing. On the next page, Serafini reveals the photograph in its entirety and provides brief general information about the plant or animal.

     Questions and answers are given on alternate double-page spreads. Nine natural objects are featured: a squirrel monkey, a hibiscus flower, a red-eyed tree frog, a banana plant, a zebra tarantula, a scarlet macaw, a bamboo plant, a moth orchid and a spiny-tailed iguana. The book ends with a double-page spread- a photograph of the rain forest habitat showing the various layers of vegetation. The sharp details and vivid colours of the photographs are sure to appeal to readers.

internal artThough the incredibly beautiful photographs steal the show, the accompanying information will certainly enhance one's enjoyment of the books and will, perhaps, inspire readers to take a closer look at the many wondrous works of nature in any habitat.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a recently retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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