Carlos walks into the cloud forest with his green umbrella,
where the only sound is the steady,
drip, drip, drip of drops falling from the trees. Carlos is sure
that he will see lots of animals--perhaps a toucan, a kinkajou, a tapir,
maybe the monkey, and if he is lucky, the exotic quetzal bird. He
leaves his umbrella at the foot of a giant fig tree and climbs up for a
better look. Perhaps Carlos should have stayed below, where, first a
mischievous tree frog hops into the umbrella, followed by one animal after
another, each one larger than the last!
The Umbrella, with its delightful story and
exquisite paintings of a lush tropical settings, perfectly complements Jan
Brett's most popular picture book, The Mitten, set in snowy woods
where furry animals crawl into a boy's mitten.
Jan visited the Monteverdi Cloud Forest in Costa Rica
and was beguiled by it, "Just like Carlos, the boy in my story." she
says. "The swirling mist and dappled sunshine challenge the visitor.
Birds and animals appear and disappear as if seen through a kaleidoscope.
The shape and coloring of a creature often mimic the leafy world it lives
in. One of the most rewarding sights is the resplendent quetzal with
its long tail resembling the trailing vines hanging from its perch."
Jan Brett's glorious artwork provides a rare look at
this mysterious habitat high on a mountain.