This inspired look at what the Kapok tree means to the creatures that live in it-and what rain forests mean to the world's ecology--was at the forefront of the ecological movement ten years ago and continues to resonate profoundly with children everywhere.
In this breathtakingly beautiful picture book, Cherry combines illustrations that reveal a naturalist's reverence for beauty with a mythlike story that explains the ecological importance of saving the rain forests. The text is not a didactic treatise, but a simply told story about a man who falls asleep while chopping down a kapok tree. The forest's inhabitants--snakes, butterflies, a jaguar, and finally a child--each whisper in his ear about the terrible consequences of living in ``a world without trees'' or beauty, about the interconnectedness of all living things. When the man awakens and sees all the extraordinary creatures around him, he leaves his ax and ``walks out of the rain forest.'' A map showing the earth's endangered forests and the creatures that dwell within ends the book which, like the rain forests themselves, is ``wondrous and rare.'' Ages 4-8. (Mar.)