The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

by Lynne Cherry

Paperback, 2000


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HMH Books for Young Readers (2000), Edition: First, 40 pages


The many different animals that live in a great kapok tree in the Brazilian rainforest try to convince a man with an ax of the importance of not cutting down their home.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
A man has been instructed to cut down a kapoc tree in the rainforest by his boss. He begins, but takes a nap because he is tired. While he sleeps, all the animals that live in the forest (and one native) whisper in his ear about why they need the tree. He looks at them after waking up, drops his
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ax, and leaves.
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LibraryThing member acochra
This was a wonderful story about a man coming to the rainforest to cut down a tree and then he falls asleep. While he is sleeping different animlas from the rainforest whisper in his ear while he is sleeping why they do not want him to cut down the great kapok tree. You could use this book as a
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reading or writing mini-lesson to show how the author's craft of using personification. Also, it could be incoporated into a social studies unit because it explains how people affect the environment, and all the different elements of the rainforest.
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LibraryThing member r13
Great book to be used to introduce Rainforest habitats and how we need to act in a way to conserve this natural resource. This can be used to lead into writing assignments about how we use our land and how students can be active in helping to save the rainforests.
LibraryThing member missmichelle
Age Appropriateness: Primary
Genre: In this book the rain forest animals talk to a man sleeping by a tree, which makes this story fit into the fantasy category. The author creates a imaginative world with believable characters to get the message of the importance of saving the rain forest across.
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This book seems to depict a situation that could really happen, but remains a fantasy because the author is creating a fantasy world where animals can talk.
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LibraryThing member jhill06
Genre: Fantasy/Informational
Critique: This a a good example of a fantasy book because of the actions of the animals in the story. They all took turns trying to convince the man to leave them alone, and that is impossible. It is an informational book too though, because it is full of information
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about the rain forest and the animals that live there. It talks about such issues as if the rain forest was cut down, the butterflies would not have a home to live in and flowers to pollinate.
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LibraryThing member ermilligan
It is a great book and could be used to introduce Rainforest habitats. It focuses on how we need to act and how to conserve these habitats through a fun and imaginative story line. The illustrations are beautiful.
LibraryThing member TorrieM
This book should be used for 3rd and 4th graders to introduce the Rainforest. It tells about the importance of the rainforest and all the different animals that can be found in it. Very beautiful pictures.
LibraryThing member lauraklandoll
This is the story of animals saving their rain forest. When a human tries to cut down a great Kapok tree, they convince him not to.

I liked this book very much. It went straight to the point, don't cut down the rain forest. I almost hear the talking animals as they convince the human, while he
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slept, not to cut down the Kapok tree.

This is a great book to show students the trouble rain forests are in at this moment. This book has wonderful pictures, very colorful, a super book to show students all the animals in the rain forest.
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LibraryThing member justinscott66
There are so many teachable moments in this primary read aloud. I can't wait to use Cherry's contribution to introduce reader's theater to early childhood students. Granted, the themes of community, citizenship, interconnectedness, global responsibility and diversity in "The Great Kapok Tree" are
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simplified. However, as an early reader, the text introduces those themes beautifully.
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LibraryThing member fnborries
I really enjoyed reading this book to the 5th graders. This book is about a logger who is sent to cut down a beautiful Kapok Tree in the rain forest. After hitting the tree a few times with the ax he grows tired. When he is sleeping all the animals that need the kapok tree and use it come and tell
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him why they need it and beg him not to cut it down. In the end of the book the man wakes up and looks at all the animals and walks away. It has a great moral to it and you can ask your students what they can do to help the environment and different other habbitats besides the rain forest.
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LibraryThing member eastahlhut
I absolutely loved this book. It is about a boy who has come to the Amazon and is going to chop down the great kapok tree. He gets tired and falls asleep under it. The animals beg him while he's sleeping to not chop the tree down. They all give their reason for why the tree should be saved. Great
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book to read to talk about saving the environment.
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LibraryThing member DanielleSt
An amazingly illustrative book about a man who wants to cut down a tree in the Amazon Rainforest. While the man sleeps, different animals who live in the Amazon whisper into his ear with pleas and reasons for the man not to cut down the tree. Each with an interesting reason of their own, the
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readers can witness how the man reacts. Introduces children to rainforest ecology and familiarizes them with animals of the rainforest, which they may not have seen before.
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LibraryThing member krs027
A man is hired to chop down a tree but the forest friends whispers in his ear and he spares the kapok tree.
LibraryThing member maryanntherese
I am sorry to say that this beautifully illustrated book is so rife with an ultra-left-wing environmental agenda that I could not in good conscience share it with my children. The implication is that if one tree is cut down, an entire civilization and way of life will be destroyed. There is no room
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for responsible forest management here. I do not know upon what Ms. Cherry believes her books are printed!

For another beautiful look at the South American jungle, try Jan Brett's The Umbrella.
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LibraryThing member mkcampbell11
A wonderful text for teaching students about conservation and persuasive writing.
LibraryThing member haleyg
Two men walked into the Rainforest. The exotic animals stopped silent after hearing the approaching men, and watched. They saw one point to a big tree and then leave. The smaller man took ahold of an ax to the trunk of the giant tree. It was a hard job causing the man to become exhausted and need
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to rest. He lyed on the ground while the noises of the soft rainforest put him to sleep. A Boa Constrictor snake slithered to the man hissing that the giant tree is a tree of miracles where his ancestors had lived. A bee buzzed in the man's ear that his hive is in the tree and all the living things in the rainforest depended on one another to live. The monkeys warned that the man over years has chopped down a tree, then another, then another until pretty soon the soil will be washed away from heavy rains because if roots can't hold it in place, it will become a desert. The toucan squawked if that if they cut the trees down, the rainforest beauty will be lost. The treefrogs exclaimed they'll be left homeless. The jaguar growled he won't be able to find dinner without the tree. The porcupines said if the tree is cut the man is destroying oxygen which gives them all life. The anteaters warned that the man doesn't think about his motions today impacting the future (his own children). A sloth explained what would be beautiful to look at without the rainforest? A kid from the Yanomamo tribe asked for him to wake up with new eyes. The man did awake to see beautiful rare animals with sun shining through the leaves looking like jewels with perfume smelings flowers and steamy mist from the floor. The man stood up to continue his work picking up his ax readt to swing. Suddenly he stopped- looking at the animals and child. He dropped the ax and walked away.
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LibraryThing member hhuget
The Great Kapok Tree is a fiction story about rainforest animals who try to stop a man from cutting down their trees. The details illustrations give life to the story as well as the descriptive language. This story could be used in language arts as well as science, as it deals with environmental
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LibraryThing member aclemen1
Saving the rainforest has always been a big a big factor! This book is a great example for children to learn about the rain forest and why it is important to our ecosystem. It is about two men who go into the rain forest to cut down a large Kapok tree, while they are sleeping through the night the
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animals whisper in their ears telling them this is their home, and all the reasons why its important to keep the tree.
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LibraryThing member matthewbloome
I don't know how many times I've read this book. It's a great piece of writing, a strong piece of environmental advocacy and a beautifully illustrated work about the rain forest. Lynne Cherry is an outstanding author and illustrator and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it.
LibraryThing member mcalcagno
I love the illustrations in this book. I read it to my class every year during earth week. My kids are always devastated that the rains forest is being cut down. I hope I am helping bring awareness.
LibraryThing member larasimmons2
This was originally a book I had used when I was working at an environmental center in Ohio. We used this book for a drama production with kids in the afternoons and often included the story in evening programs. This gives the book a little more personal aspect for me, but enjoyable non-the-less.
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The main theme of the book is to portray the significance of the Kapok tree to the rainforest; as well as the habitat and food sources it provides.

I liked Cherry's choice of words. For example, she includes a lot of sound words, like "whack", "chop", and "buzzed", making the book come alive in a different way. She also included fun words expressing movement, for example, "scampered", "crawled", "leapt", and "slithered". Her choice of words make the story a little more exciting, as she finds a variety of ways to say similar things. These also create a more vivid scene, using a variety of vocabulary.

I also like her illustrations. For example, I found the spots on the jaguar to be pretty realistic, having worked with leopards myself. I found the coloration on animals to be vibrant, and expressive of the animals she is depicting. Her end pages are also equally as informative as her text. For example, both in front and back, she has boarders of the animals found in the rainforest regions. The maps on the end pages highlight the location of where tropical rainforests are located. Overall, a good, informative read.
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LibraryThing member Camsterw27
This book can be used to show the damage that we are doing to our world. It can clearly show students how our actions affect so many others.
LibraryThing member pussreboots
Stories with a strong environmental message lend themselves to children's picture books. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is in this tradition being a book with gorgeous illustrations of rainforest animals and plants with a message about protecting the Amazon.

This one embraces magical realism
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bringing an outsider face to face with the creatures who rely on the kapok tree for their livelihood. When the lumberjack comes to the Great Kapok tree he is overcome with fatigue and falls asleep at its base. There he is visited by the creatures of the forest.

He is visited by reptiles, insects, birds, cats and finally the natives of the forest. For this lumberjack the experience is enough to convince him to leave the tree standing. Realistically, that's often not the case. Cherry's take home message though is that if enough people learn about the diversity of the forest, maybe it can be saved.(l
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LibraryThing member kzilinskas
Talks about the Amazon and the animals that live in this habitat. Also talks about saving our trees and protecting our habitats. Informational book. Good when discussing biomes/environment.
LibraryThing member daphnejohnson
Great Book with colorful illustrations.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

11 inches


0152026142 / 9780152026141




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