Written & illustrated by Jan Brett
“Hey, little Carlos, where are you going with that umbrella?”
The Umbrella is a story about Carlos’ walk into the cloud forest of Costa Rica with his umbrella made from banana tree leaves. He is in search of the beautiful animals who live in this tropical rainforest – the toucan, jaguar, kinkajou, tapir, and the quetzal, one of the world’s most beautiful birds. He doesn’t readily see animal near the ground so he decides to go for a climb. Perhaps, he should have stayed on the ground!
The Umbrella transports us to the Costa Rican Rain Forest. In the beautiful illustrations, our eyes behold the magnificent colors of both plant and animal life. With the story itself, we “hear” the animals talk and the occasional use of a Spanish word introduces young children to this Latin American language and culture.
Jan Brett has over forty-one million books in print. She is one of my favorite author-illustrators because her illustrations are exquisite and a feast for the eyes. Additionally, she places small border pictures which give clues to what will happen when the page turns. These hints spark a child’s imagination and interaction with the book. Often her stories are humorous and demonstrate the struggles of human interactions with animals, who have a mind and nature of their own. While many of Jan Brett’s books focus on European fairy tales or stories in far away snowy lands, The Umbrella was her first book set in Central America. Visit the Jan Brett website to find fun games and printables related to her books.
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