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The Picture Book Buzz

Anteaters, Bats, & Boas - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Exactly one year ago, this creative and stunning picture book on the animals in the Amazon rainforest swooped into stores. Maybe if I had been frequenting my favorite stores, I'd have caught it then. But when I heard Roxie discuss the book in a workshop this year, I fell in love with it and wanted to be sure you all saw it too. This is such an ingenious way to introduce kids to the wonder and diversity of life in the Amazonian rainforest.

Anteaters, Bats, & Boas: The Amazon Rainforest from the Forest Floor to the Treetops

Author/Illustrator: Roxie Munro

Publisher: Holiday House (2021)

Ages: 7-10



Rainforest animals, biodiversity, nonfiction, nature, and conservation.


Macaws squawk, snakes coil, and monkeys swing. Follow true-to-size rain forest animals as they journey through a noisy, colorful ecosystem like no other on Earth.

Bright, realistic illustrations of a busy Amazon rain forest depict a plethora of creatures-- all drawn at life size!-- going about their daily lives, from a family of three-toed sloths to a four-page, forty inch wide, foldout of an anteater.

Simply-written, intriguing descriptions accompany the rich artwork, revealing the animals' habitats and introducing fascinating trivia about the creatures and their ecosystem.

A two-page key reveals how all the illustrated spreads fit together into one huge panorama showcasing all four layers of an Amazonian rainforest. Readers can retrace their steps and follow the journey, from the forest floor to the heights of the canopy, revisiting all the unique creatures along the way.

Budding conservationists will love this immersive introduction to one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Over half the world's plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests such as the Amazon. Protecting rain forests from the devastating effects of logging, mining, and climate change is essential to ensure the survival of so many fascinating creatures.

A glossary, description of the four layers of the rainforest, an index, a map of rainforests worldwide, and a section on protecting rain forests are included in the backmatter of this well-researched, beautiful picture book.

Opening Lines:

Take a walk in a South American tropical rainforest and you'll find a noisy, colorful world....

On your journey through this book you'll find Amazonian creatures (and plants) painted at their real size, from tiny to tremendous, and from dangerous to helpful to humans.

What I LOVED about this book:

Following a brief introduction to the rainforest's layers, their importance - how "two-thirds of the world's plants can be found in rainforests" yet they "cover only 6% of Earth's land," locations, and resident animals, we come face to face (literally) with a life-sized...

© Roxie Munro, 2021.

Emerald tree boas are born red or

orange, but after a year they turn green.

These snakes are beautiful, but rarely

move from their perches. ...

In addition to admiring this stunning image (whether you like snakes of not), we immediately know that this concept, expository, nonfiction picture book was created by someone who loves all animals. The tone is factual, yet conversational, conveying fascinating nuggets on diets, sizes, or special characteristics. A master of puzzle books, Roxie Munro mischievously hints at the next animal in most of the pictures. That bit of grey fur, by the boas' head, is actually the backside of a...

© Roxie Munro, 2021.

brown-throated three-toed sloth and baby. The vivid colors and amazing details - from the sloths' enormous claws and peaceful faces to the intricate feathers of the black-eared fairy hummingbird - will captivate readers and the snippets offered on these rainforest animals are just enough to make you want to learn more. Roxie intersperses larger and smaller animals, grouping them by characteristics - such as ones who don't walk, ones who are golden, or ones which are armored. Honestly, I had as much fun looking at and identifying the gorgeous plants Roxie included.

After showing and discussing vampire bats, a Channel-billed toucan, Golden lion tamarins (one of my favorite monkeys), an eyelash viper, a poison dart frog, a green iguana, and leaf-cutter ants, Roxie begins to show an animal who stretches over eight pages. Demonstrating its relative size in comparison to smaller rainforest animals, like the Amazon bluewing butterflies, and a pink-toed tarantula, with this spectacular gate-fold drawing.

© Roxie Munro, 2021.

I wish I could walk you image by image through this stunning book. But alas, you will just have to check it out for yourselves. Though one of my favorite illustrations - the jaguar resting on a limb - was in Roxie's interview on Monday. A fun panorama (below) shows how each spread fits together and guides the reader back to their favorite pages. A description of the layers of the rainforest, a conservation call to action, glossary, additional resources, and a world map round out this wonderful picture book's exploration of the Amazon rainforest. It's a terrific book for anyone interested in nature and the animals who live in the rainforest.


- using the key to the animals at the back of the book, create an Amazon rainforest diorama.

© Roxie Munro, 2021.

© FirstPalette

- try a few of these rainforest activities. Make your own rain stick, boa, or poison dart frogs. Or maybe your own mini rainforest.

- pair this with Zonia's Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal and Over and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.

If you missed the interview of Roxie Munro on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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