Discovering the Amazon Rainforest


64 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 0-19-541327-X
DDC j577.34




Illustrations by Heather Graham and Julian Mulock
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is the former executive director of the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


This book offers a surprisingly thorough overview of the natural history
of rainforests, their human populations, and their threatened future.
After focusing on a Yanomami child with whom the reader can identify,
the narration moves on to the river itself, the geography and biology of
rainforests, and the human inhabitants. Points such as the origin of the
names “Amazon” and “Rio Negro,” and examples such as leaf-cutter
ants, sustain ongoing interest. The lifestyle of the Yanomami is well
covered. After this arcadian section (warfare is omitted), the
discussion of mining and pollution comes as a shock. Manaus is
highlighted for its products, trade, and tourism. The latter portion of
the book deals with the rainforests of West Africa (including the Mbuti
pygmies) and South East Asia, human threats such as erosion and
deforestation, and, most importantly, what the reader can do to help.

The writing is simple and direct, and there is information in the text
that will be new to many adults. The accompanying photographs and
drawings are excellent, as are boxes on the themes “Something to do”
and “Did you know?” Various exercises such as creating bar graphs
are included, as well as a glossary, and addresses of conservation
agencies. Highly recommended.


Cruxton, J. Bradley., “Discovering the Amazon Rainforest,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,