Julia Groves, Rainforest

Child's Play, 2017, ISBN 978-1-84643-935-3

This is a beautiful picture book. Each double page spread carries just one very distinctive and thought-provoking picture of an un-named rainforest creature. The accompanying text is spare and unusual, almost poetic. Beside a stunning picture of a jaguar are the words 'Slowly stalking, majestic and silent.' Above an intriguing illustration of a row of ants carrying pieces of leaves we read 'Tiny foragers transport their treasure.' As we move through the book we become more and more immersed in the feel of the forest, aware of the life in the tree canopy, on the ground, in the water, in the sky. At the end we can explore interesting facts about the Amazonian rainforest and each of the animals we have been introduced to. We discover, for example, that tapirs spend much of the daytime wallowing in water, using their noses like snorkels.

Rainforest is lovely to look at and to hold. The pages are heavy and very matte, the perfect match for Groves' artwork, and while the cover is also matte, the striking illustrations on both the front and the back have an inviting sheen. Grove uses colour to fabulous effect. The rich vocabulary of the text complements the pictures wonderfully and is great for reading aloud. My one small cavil is that the level of information on the facts page is very advanced for the audience the book will appeal to. However, children and adults together can choose how much of it they read. A valuable book to have in homes, libraries and classrooms. Recommended.