Recommended reads: “What’s in the Rain Forest?” by Charley Harper

Toddler in the Tropics: “What’s in the Rain Forest?” is the perfect read for mini and grown-up conservationists alike!

Our little crew has been a bit housebound this week, thanks to a triple whammy of conjunctivitis, a throat infection and a stomach bug. We’ve tried to keep spirits up (/keep all small humans alive and, to a certain degree, out of trouble – the three-year old burning his hand on the toaster was an unfortunate slip up in this regard) by staying busy and indulging in some extra snuggles (/toddler-led wrestling sessions) and reading time. With Daddy away for work visiting Earth University (I’m not being glib – that’s a real place!) in Costa Rica, we’ve been making our way through the delightful “What’s in the Rain Forest?” (illustrated by Charley Harper, with text by Zoe Burke), in an attempt to get a feel for some of the delicious sights and sounds he might be exposed to whilst out in the field.

This beauty of a book, published by PomegranteKids, is theoretically a little advanced on the vocabulary front for our three and one-year olds, but given the easy-flowing rhymes and rhythm of the text, which accompany some truly stunning pictures, it really is a feast for the eyes, ears and imagination for the whole family. Flicking through the 25 poster-worthy pages, little and grown-up readers alike are invited to delve into the rainforest, and get to know some of the weird and wonderful beasts and birds fortunate enough to call the rainforest home. For the language lovers and the conservationists out there, this book is an absolute treat: blue-crowned motmots, orange-bellied trogons, rufous-tailed jacamars, red-eyed tree frogs and two-towed sloths are just a handful of the wriggly rascal rainforest residents to be featured.

Since a picture tells a thousand words, I thought I’d share a sneak peek of some of the book’s glorious images, as dotted about further below. Nearly two years into his job for an NGO working on agroforestry for meaningful and lasting change in Central America, I’m not convinced our toddler quite yet grasps exactly what it is that Daddy does all day when he’s away for work – besides abandoning his highly revered Family Chauffer/Cook Extraordinaire/Lego Empire Support duties of course. To little R’s mind, Daddy’s job involves fields, farmers, travelling to different countries, and something or other to do with helping people – which is a decent enough start, I suppose. As time goes on, I imagine his Dad will no doubt regale him with all the exciting technical ins and outs of sustainable agriculture (he already has an embarrassing tendency to do this at parties… Whilst his passion is of course admirable, I do try to remind him there’s sometimes a time and a place!)

In the meantime, though, I think this scrumptious book, through its beautifully crafted pages that awaken all the senses, serves as a great stop-gap when it comes to answering the much repeated “Donde está mi papa?” query, as well as its age-old counterpart, “But why, Mummy, why?” Thank you, Charley Harper and PomegranteKids, for making my life that little bit easier (not to mention more colourful) this week!

What about you? Do your kids have a favourite book that transports them to another world? What are your top reads for discovering nature, new landscapes and cultures with the little ones? We’re big fans of armchair travel in this house, so feel free to hit me up with your top tips!