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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2000
"The Great Kapok Tree" is a nice predictable book for the age level it is designed for. It seems like every single animal in the rain forest comes to the man about to chop down the tree. They state so many reasons why the man should not cut down the tree. It is very informative about the dangers of depleting the rain forest, but I found the plot dry and not very interesting. The pictures are beautiful.
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on October 5, 2002
Beautiful, wild places inspire and I love to introduce this concept to young children who are so very sensitive to the beauty around them. Children love to produce images of a world butterflies, rainbows and flowers. Lynne Cherry uses this love to capture and intrigue children in her book about The Great Kapok Tree set in the heart of the Amazon rain forest.
Ms Cherry is an author and illustrator of children's books who has a sensitivity for ecological issues. In The Great Kapok Tree she presents a jungle teaming with life. A man tires as he begins cutting the great tree down with an ax. He tires and sleeps. While he sleeps the animals come out of the rain forest to give him a lesson about the importance of the tree. Snakes, monkeys, butterflies, parrots, toucans, frogs jaguars and sloths all give him a pitch. Each tree is important in the rain forest.
Lynne Cherry's illustrations are gorgeous, green and so alive. Her inspiration was the Amazon rain forest which she traveled to and sketch while researching this book. Each page impresses the reader with the lushness and beauty of the region.
While it may seem that the concept of ecology is a bit sophisticated for a four year old it is important to remember that our early values shape our lives. It is my hope that the children of today will have of deep love of nature that will inspire them to take the necessary care of the earth ion their future.
This book is a wonderful gift to a child. I have read it to children numerous times and they are always mesmerized by it.
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on July 5, 2000
This is a beautifully illustrated fable of interdependence in the rain forest. As a teacher, I use this story to teach about ecosystems here at home. Even though it is appropriate for younger children, I read it to my outdoor school students (5th-6th grade) on the day we study ecosystems to help them understand the inter-relationships we see and study in the field. I like to bring the story to life by giving the animals special voices (lots of hissssing for the snake, chattering for the monkeys, squawking for the birds, etc.) At first the students laugh and are amused by the voices, but when the tree frogs talk about ruined lives and being left homeless, they begin to get more serious, and by the time the sloth asks "How much is beauty worth? Can you live without it?" they are fully engrossed. After reading the story, I send the students out to find a "magic spot" to do a writing assignment: write their own story of "The Great ______" substituting a plant they have learned about during their week at outdoor school for Kapok Tree.
The only thing I don't like about this story is that students, in their black and white morality, sometimes only take home the message that "it's bad to cut down trees." I like the book "The Gift of the Tree" because it doesn't have this morality tale aspect, and "Just a Dream," because it places responsibility on each of our shoulders, not just "someone" like the tree cutter in this story. But I use this story in conjunction with those others and discuss this issue with the students. This is definitely a classic in Children's Environmental Literature!
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on March 18, 2004
There once was a book that was good and it was The Great Kapok Tree. It was about a man who wanted to cut down a tree in the Amazon Rainforest. All animals wanted the man not to cut down the tree. One by one each animal had a reason why not to cut down the tree. Finally the man realized this tree meant a lot to them because all animals depended on the tree. The man did not cut the tree down because all the animals had asked him not to.
I think this book is really good because it was very interesting and it was a good book. I liked the animals that were included and how they each had a reason.
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on April 3, 2000
This book is a magnificient view of how the rainforest works together as a complex community, yet is made simple to bring that message to young children. The big book version is wonderfully filled with detailed pictures that children love to see. I recommend this book to any parent or teacher trying to teach environmental awareness to their children and students. It get the children excited to see what else is out in the world and try to do something before it vanishes, just as the animals tell the man the rainforest community will vanish if he chops down the Kapok Tree.
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on April 17, 2004
While beautifully illustrated and highly imaginative, The Great Kapok Tree is a heavy-handed attempt to create environmental activism in young, impressionable children. It is utterly one-sided, and places the welfare of animals above that of humans. At no time is the human story told. Instead, the "right" side of the issue (the politically correct side) is presented as the only possible way to think. It attempts to place on the shoulders of children the responsibility for "saving" the rain forest. Saving endangered species, environments, etc. is not the job of children.
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on September 22, 2001
My son and I love this book. We received it as a prize at an Earth Day celebration and have gotten a lot of use out of it. I love the beautiful pictures and my son loves it when I make up voices for each of the animals. I feel good about reading this book to him, because the message is clear. We live on a planet with many cultures and many other living creatures. We should respect that. I have gone out to check out other books by Lynne Cherry and love them all. But The Great Kapok Tree remains my favorite.
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on January 29, 2011
After reading all the great reviews here, I was excited to get this as one of my child's Christmas presents.
The artwork is amazing, but the story is dry and uninteresting to my 5 year old who loves nature, trees, animals and Diago. I thought this would be a slam dunk. It's a wide margin miss especially because the man just ups and walks out, rather than trying to do something to stop the destruction. We finished the book thinking, "They're just going to send someone else to cut it down!" Too bad.
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on March 4, 2001
My kids age 7 and 5 absolutely love this book. It is the one we check out the most from the library and they have been asking for it to keep at home "always". The first time we read it, I made up different voices for each animal that spoke to the man and now my 7 year old can read most of it herself and she does the same to entertain her little brother. The pictures and colors are glorious and the story teaches a valuable lesson about saving the environment.
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on February 20, 2003
I like this book a lot and I also like the writing. I like the animals. I like what the animals said. All the animals said the same thing. I like the characters a lot and like the decorations. I like the colors, trees, plants, flowers and the roads. I especially liked the way that they took the example of the rainforerst and told about the many benefits it provides.
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