The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

If the animals in the rainforest could speak, what would they say to the people who are bent on destroying their home? To answer this question and give voice to the direct victims of deforestation, author and illustrator Lynne Cherry travelled deep into the heart of the Brazilian rainforest to pen and illustrate The Great Kapok Tree.

As the title suggests, the story centres on a great kapok tree and the man who is tasked to chop it down. While hacking at the huge tree, the man becomes tired from the exertion and heat and falls asleep, whereupon he has an incredible dream (or is it really?) in which the rainforest’s natives take turns to plead with him to stop chopping down the kapok tree by telling him how his actions impact them directly, as well as the long-term ramifications.

From the lovingly painted illustrations of the lush and densely populated rainforest, it’s clear that the author herself is deeply passionate about rainforest conservation. Her empathy and conviction also come through in the heartfelt and impassioned pleas of the animals, and it would take a heart of stone to remain unmoved by the message behind this book.

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