Site Areas: 
Printer-friendly version   

Over and Under the Rainforest

Last updated Friday, November 12, 2021

Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Date of Publication: 2020
ISBN: 1452169403
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2021

Synopsis: Take a thrilling tour of one of the most diverse ecosystems on planet earth: the rainforests of Central America. Discover the wonder that lies hidden among the roots, above the winding rivers, and under the emerald leaves of the rainforest.

- Features animals like the slender parrot snake to the blue morpho butterfly
- Explores the canopies, where toucans and pale-billed woodpeckers chatter and call
- Other animals include capuchin monkeys who swing from vines and slow-moving sloths who wait out daily thunderstorms

Under the canopy of the rainforest hundreds of animals make their homes, but up in the leaves hides another world.

Note to readers:
•  This charming book takes you to Costa Rica with the author's Uncle Tito. You walk below and through a "riot of monkeys and insects and birds." The author describes it also as "a symphony of sounds. Chatters and chirps and a howling roar." If you have time, listen to the author reading a portion of the book beforehand at It might prevent any mis-pronounciations!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who has been to Costa Rica? Do you have any relatives there?
•  Who has been to a rainforest or jungle?
•  There are maps in a couple of different formats showing where rainforests are worldwide at
•  Costa Rica is famous for its nature tourism. What would you expect to see there?


•  The animals are described, along with their characteristic behaviors, starting on page 21.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  There are many sounds described in this book, as made by each animal. You may want to practice some of these with the kids!
•  Which animal would you most like to be?
•  Rainforests are endangered. What can you do to help save the rainforest?

Craft ideas:
•  Normally at the November reading clubs we give an item with a college logo to each kid. This November have the kids create their own college logos based on the college logo you volunteer(s) share on something you are wearing or otherwise display on Zoom.
•  Pick one or more animals from the book and practice drawing them. Examples are on our Pinterest page.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!