author/illustrator : jan brett
pages : [hardcover] 32
A walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest provides a wonderfully lush setting for Jan Brett’s beloved animal illustrations. When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by–from the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more. It gets so crowded in the umbrella that there isn’t even enough room for a little hummingbird! So over the umbrella tumbles, everyone falls out, and poor Carlos comes back wondering why he didn’t see any animals all day.
In the spirit of Jan Brett’s The Mitten and The Hat, this cheerful tale of escalation will have readers poring over every illustration for the world of details Jan packs in. With its classic story, exotic jungle setting, and brilliantly colorful menagerie, The Umbrella is sure to take its place among Jan’s many family favorites.
This book is incredibly adorable and captivating. Jan Brett’s gorgeous, painstaking illustrations definitely take the story above and beyond.
What I loved about this story was how the illustrations really play against and with the text. Brett designed the pages to not only show what is happening in the text directly on the page but to also hint at what animals will come next in the story as well as what is happening with Carlos as he climbs, when possibly the text isn’t mentioning him at all. I think those are cute details that will especially keep younger readers pouring over the images.
The story is really cool, too, in that it takes place in the jungle and mentions animals that I don’t think most children are typically taught about. They’ll learn something while reading and of course it won’t feel like the lesson is being forced upon them.
It’s also kind of funny to read about Carlos complaining that there are no animals (in the jungle of all places) where if he’d just gone back for his dang umbrella he would have seen ALL of the animals.
I really think Jan Brett’s work for children is awesome and the amount of time and effort it takes to make her paintings is amazing.