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

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,453 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
This beautifully illustrated and highly recommended book is widely used in primary schools in the U.S. to convince children of the importance of rain-forest conservation. Lynne Cherry visited the Amazon rain forest to gather drawings for the book, and the simple story and vivid illustrations capture the reality and lushness of the forest in a way she could not have by work ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 15th 1990 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kathryn
Okay, first let me say that this is a lovely book--the writing style is simple but touching, the artwork is great--realistic yet still "artsy" (I love the inside-cover spread with the map of the world, showing the rain forest areas, and then a border of rain forest fauna). Also, I am all for the message of conservation--this one wasn't too heavy-handed, but still will help raise children's awareness that it is important to preserve nature.

This book still rather annoyed me, though, following a bi
...more
Bethe
Apr 30, 2016 Bethe rated it it was amazing
re reading this classic ecology tale for the umpteenth time - fabulously detailed illustrations overcome the sometimes didactic text.
midnightfaerie
Sep 26, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
My 5 yr old and I really enjoyed this book. It was recommended reading for his lesson on South America and it's all about saving the rain forests. The beautiful illustrations really make you feel for the animals and the habitat and it opened my son's eyes to how we're all living things are dependent on each other. We also learned a lot of new animals, and we loved looking at the world map, a map he's become intimately familiar with. A wonderful book and great addition to any children's library.
Krista
Sep 28, 2015 Krista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Kapok Tree has absolutely gorgeous illustrations and a beautiful message about wildlife preservation. This book tells the tale of a man who is about to chop down an enormous tree in the Amazon rain forest, but gets too tired and falls asleep. While he is asleep, all of the animals who would be affected by the tree's absence speak to him and try to convince him not to chop it down. I loved the message of respecting nature and thinking of the bigger picture instead of just one's immediat ...more
Sarah Sammis
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 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 it
...more
Chris
Nov 18, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a really enjoyable, really fast-paced and really well-written children's picture book. It had really beautiful illustrations, great characters, great message and a really good story. It's one my favorite children's pictures books I've ever read in my whole life. I highly recommend this book for children and adults of all ages.
Claire
Oct 16, 2015 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little kids saw me holding this book today. I found it bright and colourful - bringing back pleasant memories of an Amazon Trail game I'd play all the time when I was yea high.

I suppose I was in the right place at the right time.
Tatiana Giraldo
Feb 15, 2015 Tatiana Giraldo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about a man that is going to cut an old tree in the rainforest. The animals that depend on the tree appear to the man on his dreams and tell him why he shouldn't cut it down. It is a great story about ecology, compassion and how everything is connected.
Greg
Jun 30, 2015 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Great Kapok Tree", by Lynne Cherry, is an excellent way to introduce young readers to the way that all things on Earth are interconnected. In the story, a young man falls asleep at the foot of a tree in the Brazilian rainforest. He has come to the tree to chop it down. As he sleeps, all sorts of jungle creatures, and a small boy from an indigenous tribe, whisper in his ear about how they each depend on the tree to live. They tell him about how the tree shelters their families, and provides ...more
Lancee
Mar 01, 2015 Lancee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Great Kapok Tree is a story that stands out for its very colorful and detailed illustrations. The story is a tale of a Kapok Tree in the Amazon rainforest that is a home to a variety of rainforest animals. The story starts with a man who walks into the forest and comes right up to the Kapok tree with an ax and starts chopping at the tree. The man was just doing his job and as he is chopping at the tree, all the animals that call the tree their home stare at the man while he works. The man ev ...more
Logan Williams
Personal Reaction:
This is by far the best picture book I have read so far, but it still contained very basic language and sentence structure. This is a story about a lumberjack who is supposed to cut down a Kapok tree in the Amazon Rain Forest, but the man then becomes fatigued and passes out. Soon all kinds of animals whisper in his ear a variety of reasons why he should cut down the tree which they rely on. Through the use of beautiful and vibrant colors, this story truly captures the beauty t
...more
Xiaoting
Feb 15, 2015 Xiaoting rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Kapok Tree tell us that the many different animals that live in a great kapok tree in the Brazilian rain forest try to convince a man with an ax of the importance of not cutting down their home. The content of this book is very educational for children and adults. The illustration that many animals and rain forest is very vivid and interesting.
1) The ending pages of this book is very attractive. This is a double-pages spread. There have a map on the center shows that the tropical rain
...more
Khloe Belfiore
Feb 08, 2015 Khloe Belfiore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Great Kapok Tree" is a story about how one mans opinion can change due to natures abilities. This man is sent into the Amazon to take down a Kapok tree but his decision is swayed when he sees what kind of life the tree provides.

This book is an awesome teaching book. It teachers kids about an exotic place and what kinds of wildlife inhabits it. So many different animals are introduced in this book such as boa constrictor, bees, monkeys, birds, tree frogs, a jaguar, porcupines, anteaters, a
...more
Jacklyn
Dec 07, 2014 Jacklyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry talks about environmental issue. Two men came to the rain forest; one stayed and wanted to chop off the Kapok tree. He fell asleep and all the creatures living in the rain forest that depended on the Kapok tree came to whisper in his ears try to convince him not to cut off the tree. The man woke up and saw all the creatures surrounded him, would he leave in peace or keep finishing his task?
The picture book demonstrates a dynamic ecosystem of rain forest. It
...more
Ashley Stude
Sep 19, 2014 Ashley Stude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite children's book of all time, "The Great Kapok Tree" is a moving story with a great message for children. Growing up in my house, I was always taught that nature is a very sacred thing, especially the forest. My mother used to read this book to me all the time to teach me about the importance of nature. This book does such a good job of informing kids the importance of nature and why the rain forests should be left alone. The message in this book is a message that isn't taught ...more
Gwion Russell
Jun 01, 2014 Gwion Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a man who aims to cut down trees and destroy the local wildlife’s habitats in a nearby rainforest. However, tensions soon arise when he falls asleep in the middle of his deforestation attempt and is persuaded not to complete his operation.
I like this book as it can be used in a variety of ways: Role-play, speaking and listening and PSHE debates, among others. The main curricular link is to Geography however and it can be used to assess both arguments of deforestation, children
...more
Savannah
Feb 09, 2014 Savannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Kapok pronounced Key-pok
A great story to add on The Rainforest Grew All Around

Two men enter a rain forest and one attempts to chop down a Kapok tree. He becomes tired and the heat and hum from the forest lull him to sleep. While he's sleeping all sorts of animals come to beg him to leave their home alone.
A boa constrictor where generations of his family has lived.
A bee whose hive is in the tree.
A troupe of monkeys, "We have seen the ways of man. You chop down one tree, then come back for more
...more
Graham Lazar
Cherry's "The Great Kapok Tree" is a classic of children's fiction focused on environmental ethics. Cherry uses the story of a lumberjack who travel to the Amazon to cut-down a great Kapok tree. After the man exhausts himself trying to log the tree, he rests at the tree's trunk. Here in his dreams, he is visited by people and creatures of the forest - lizards, a boa constrictor, a troupe of monkeys, a sloth, and a young child of the Amazon.

Each of these visitors imparts a different message abou
...more
Diana
Mar 28, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man comes into the rain forest and starts to chop a kapok tree. He is overcome with fatigue and falls asleep and the foot of the tree. Numerous animals emerge from the kapok tree. Each animal explains how he or she uses the kapok tree for survival to try to persuade the man to stop cutting the tree. By the end of the book, the man wakes up and decides not to cut down the tree. I would use this book to teach students about persuasive writing. Each animal tried to persuade the man to stop hurtin ...more
Denis Verdecia
Nov 02, 2015 Denis Verdecia rated it liked it
The Author could have gotten her message of "save the rain forests" across by using half the number of animals she used to spell out the damage that mankind is doing by chopping down the rain forest. Also, I felt that this book is way too political. For the age group that it is intended, it tries to foster the notion that children this age can make a political statement to big business to not cut down the rain forests. What I am saying here is that the message is misguided to the wrong age group ...more
Matt Griffiths
Apr 28, 2015 Matt Griffiths rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book. I used it for a Y5 topic about the rainforest. It provides an excellent opportunity for pupils to discuss sustainability, loss of habitat and repercussions for the people who lose their homes due to human intervention.

The premise of the story is a man enters the forest with the intention of cutting down the trees and selling the wood. However, before he begins to cut the trees down, he promptly lies down and has a nap. Whilst he is a sleep he is visited by the various animals which
...more
Gina
Apr 08, 2014 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prediction
The Great Kapok Tree tells about the many different animals that live in a great kapok tree in the Brazilian rainforest and the animals try to convince a man with an ax of the importance of not cutting down their home. It teaches student about respect for an environment and how everyone has a home and if that home is tainted, it causes dismay between one another. For a science lesson, I will teach about different biomes such as chaparral, rainforest, etc. and the kinds of trees that are found in ...more
Jennifer
This is a great science and social studies related book for my preschool students. We discover what a kapok tree is (they had never heard of it), where it grows (rainforest), where the rainforests are (social studies), and the animals/insects in the rainforest (science).
Janet Balletta
Mar 28, 2016 Janet Balletta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Kapok Tree is my favorite read aloud to celebrate Earth Day in the classroom. This vibrantly illustrated book is about the interdependence of all living things. It takes place in the midst of the Amazon Rain Forest. The story is portrayed by a man cutting down the Kapok tree. After a while, he grows tired and takes a nap in the shade. Once the man is asleep, a native boy and rain forest animals come out and whisper in his ear. They each explain how cutting down the tree will create an ...more
Leslie Kress
Mar 05, 2015 Leslie Kress rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Great Kapok Tree is an engaging picture book about a man who is about to cut down a beloved Kapok tree. He takes a nap and the rainforest animals come up to him and whisper important reasons why he should not cut down their tree. In the end the man does not cut the tree down and walks away. The watercolor illustrations are vibrant, detailed, and help bring the story to life. My students have always enjoyed this book and I think it is an excellent read for all ages. It can be used to teach ma ...more
Alexandria
Apr 13, 2015 Alexandria rated it it was amazing
This book was a fantastic gem. A man enters the rain forest to cut down a tree, under orders from another man. But with the exertion and heat he falls asleep at the base of the tree... and then the story begins.

All the animals of the tree come to him and beg him not to cut down the tree. An indigenous boy comes to him as well and asks him, still in his sleep, to see them all differently when he wakes up.

It's an insight into the importance of the natural world and our impact on it. The message i
...more
Matt Griffiths
Apr 24, 2015 Matt Griffiths rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book. Brilliant book to use for any topic around the theme of the rainforest. I used it in a y5 class. Good to use especially when trying to get pupils to empathise with characters in the books. Story revolves around a character who enters the rainforest to cut down trees to sell. Before he starts cutting he promptly falls asleep. Whilst he is asleep he is visited by the many different animals who live in the rainforest. They give him reasons why he shouldn't cut down the trees.When he aw ...more
Jade Clark
Jun 29, 2015 Jade Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a great book for KS2.

I have recently used 'The Great Kapok Tree' by Lynne Cherry during story-time to introduce the topic of the rainforest.

It introduces the children not only to the animals of the rainforest (which you can link in with Science), but also about the destruction of the habitat which is great to link in with geography as well as elements of PSHE and about respecting our Earth.

The various characters have strong personalities, which means it makes it perfect for the children
...more
Natalie
Nov 18, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why doesn't the jaguar just eat the man who wants to cut down the tree?
Alexandria Hiam
Nice illustrations, conservation lesson involved. A man (Senhor) comes to chop down the Great Kapok tree, he gets so tired from working at it he falls asleep at foot of the tree. While he is sleeping all the animals of the forest come and whisper in his ear as he is sleeping. They tell him the many reasons not to chop down the tree. When he awakes he looks at the tree once more with his ax in hand, and then decides to turn around and leave. He drops the ax and leaves it in the forest and walks a ...more
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