• JoAnne Saldanha

The Great Kapok Tree...a classic.

28 July, 2019


When I first planned to post a review of The Great Kapok Tree’ by Lynne Cherry, I didn’t know that it was World Nature Conservation Day today. I couldn’t think of a more perfect day on which to post about this beautiful book.



The Great Kapok Tree is environmental fable which explains the ecological importance of saving the rainforests and the interconnectedness of all living things.

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Two men walk into the Amazon rainforest. One points to a Great Kapok Tree and leaves. The other lifts an ax he was carrying and begins to strike the trunk of the tree. Soon the man growing tired, lies down to rest, falling asleep with the hum of the forest. One by one the inhabitants of the tree and rainforest come to him as he sleeps, whispering in his ears the consequences of cutting down trees.



When the man awakens, he sees the beautiful creatures around him, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe. What wonderful and rare creatures they all were!

Looking around the rainforest, he takes in the rays of sun streaming through the canopy, the thick green foliage made up with strange and beautiful plants, smells the fragrant perfume and feels the steam rising off the floor of the forest.

The forest was quite however, as the creatures were silently waiting to see what the man would do.

He picks up his ax ready to strike, but turns, looks at the animals and the child, drops his ax and leaves.

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This book is stunning, each illustration a work of art. The children poured over the details, excited to see the range of animals. Each creature whispers to the man how cutting down the tree will impact their lives.

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This is one of those stories which leaves the children open mouthed.

It motivated them to come looking for non-fiction reads about the rain-forest, soaking in as much information as they could. I love when a book inspires enough to lead the children to more reading. Oh and this one definitely did!!!



The map on the end pages, shows the extent of the rainforests currently, and it’s clear to see how much we have lost. It’s bordered with images of the rare rainforest creatures.

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A classic!!




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