The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

Written by Lynne Cherry

Reviewed by Jimmy C. (age 8)

The Great Kapok Tree written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry is a great book that teaches you not to harm the rain forest and its animals. In the beginning, two men walk into the forest. The smaller man has an axe and the larger man points to the kapok tree wanting him to cut it down and then leaves. The man starts to chop down the tree. Whack! Chop! Chop! Whack! The man grows more tired with each big whack at the tree. He soon falls asleep. Soon after animals like a toucan, slot, boa constrictor, bees and monkeys whisper in his ear and tell him different reasons to not cut down the tree. In the end, a little boy from the Yanomano tribe whispers, “Senhor, when you wake up, look upon us with new eyes.” He wakes up with a start. Will he continue chopping down the tree or drop his axe and leave the forest? Read the book to find out.

I think The Great Kapok Tree is an inspiring book because it tells you about the importance of the rain forest. My favorite part is when the boa constrictor slithers down to talk to the sleeping man. He tells the man, “Senhor, do not chop down the tree because my ancestors live here.” That shows how important the tree is to generations of animals. My favorite illustration is when the birds come down from the canopy because they are all beautiful. In the picture all the birds are pretty and different colors. My favorite character is the three-toed-sloth because it was funny. She was, “plodding ever so slowly” to the man. She had started making her way down from the canopy when the man first appeared.

I would recommend this book to first through fifth graders. I would also recommend it to people who like animals and the amazing rain forest. The rain forest produces 20% of the Earth’s oxygen so if you an interest in saving the Earth and the people in it, you will like this book.

Jimmy C. is a student in Mrs. Kayser's 3rd Grade Class