Jan Brett is a pretty amazing woman. Her stories and artwork are so captivating. She is one of the foremost author illustrators of children’s books in the country. She has over 33 million books in print. That is an amazing accomplishment. My mother actually is the one who introduced me to Jan Brett’s work. One of her favorite books is The Gingerbread Baby. We will have to read that one to Eva around Christmas time. Jan has a ton of books and one that we like to read to Eva often is The Umbrella (This is a “rain forest version of Jan’s book The Mitten). This book is about a young boy named Carlos goes into Monteverdi Cloud Forest in Costa Rica on a quest to see animals of the Cloud Forest. Carlos brings his woven leaf umbrella with him on his journey. He decides that he’s do better finding animals if he was higher so he leaves his umbrella at the base of a giant tree and climbs up.
While Carlos is in the tree a series of animals find the umbrella a fun place to spend their time. First we have a tree frog and then a toucan, a kinkajou, a baby tapir, a Quetzal, a monkey, a jaguar and finally a tiny hummingbird. As each animal climbs into on upon the umbrella it becomes a tighter and tighter fit for everyone. The umbrella is tossed into the river by the monkey and finally when the hummingbird sets down umbrella sinks into the water and all the animals bail out. Carlos climbs down from the Giant Fig tree none the wiser.
What I really love about the story is that it introduces Eva to animals that she wouldn’t hear about otherwise. And with the lifelike illustrations she knows exactly what these animals are supposed to look like.
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