The Forest in the Clouds book cover image

The Forest in the Clouds

  • 795

By: Sneed B. Collard III / Illustrated by: Michael Rothman

Get your head in the clouds...

In many parts of the world, within a few hundred miles of the equator, there exists a mysterious environment called the rain forest. High up in the mountains of these areas lies an even more mysterious environment--the tropical cloud forest. The Forest in the Clouds explores the enchanting world of the Monte Verde cloud forest in Costa Rica.

Discover the splendor and fragile beauty of a precarious ecosystem that receives up to 10 feet of rain and mist each year. Readers meet rare creatures unique to the cloud forest, home to over 300 different types of birds and countless insects. There are more than 500 species of butterflies alone. Learn about the many plants that thrive in the cloud forest, such as gardens of epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants. The Forest in the Clouds will amaze and inspire young readers as it plainly teaches children about the importance of this delicate ecosystem to the balance of the earth.

Michael Rothman vividly brings to life the plants and animals of the enchanting and ethereal cloud forest. This place, constantly in mist, is alive with color and light in his lush illustrations.

A glossary of terms is provided in the back of the book along with a guide to further reading, a few helpful web sites, and addresses kids can write to in order to get further information about saving the cloud forests.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Sneed B. Collard III, author

Sneed B. Collard III has been a biologist, computer scientist, and author. He began writing after graduating with honors in marine biology from the University of California, Berkeley. After earning his master’s in scientific instrumentation at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he continued to hone his craft while serving as a computer consultant for biologists.

Read more about Sneed.

Michael Rothman, illustrator

Michael Rothman received a Masters of Fine Arts from City University of New York (Brooklyn College) in 1977. Since then, he has worked as a teacher and a freelance illustrator. He has traveled extensively as a natural science illustrator and contributed to such publications as Natural History, Scientific American, and The New Yorker.

Read more about Michael.

Awards & Honors:

  • Booklist Top Ten Science Books for Youth
  • NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
  • ILA Teachers' Choice Award

Editorial Reviews:


This colorful book introduces Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest, which Collard discussed for somewhat older reasons in Monteverde: Science and Scientists in a Costa Rican Cloud Forest (1997). Stretching across the double-page spreads, Rothman's beautifully textured acrylic paintings offer close-up views of some of the animals and plants living in this rich and complex ecosystem. Collard's text is as focused and colorful as the illustrations. Commenting on the forest itself as well as individual creatures that live there, he gives a clear sense of the diversity of life to be found in a cloud forest and the need to protect it. The book ends with a glossary, a map showing cloud forests in Costa Rica, and lists of organizations, books, and Web sites related to cloud forests, rain forests, and conservation.

The Horn Book Guide

Richly detailed paintings show the flora and fauna of the Monteverde cloud forest in Costa Rica while the text provides some background information about the conditions that create a cloud forest and the great variety of plants and animals found within its borders. Environmental problems are discussed, and several organizations that are working on these issues are listed, as are some relevant websites.

School Library Journal

Collard introduces young readers to the world of Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest. He highlights unusual plants and animals and explains the interrelationships among the forest's inhabitants. His concern for the area's ecology is apparent in his account of the disappearance of species, notably the golden toad. A list of books, Web sites, and environmental organizations offers additional sources of information. Rothman's detailed acrylic paintings, dominated by rich greens and browns, cover the better part of each spread. The illustrations, especially of cloud forest birds, help children appreciate the unique features of the area. Older readers might enjoy Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's Children Save the Rain Forest (Dutton, 1996), which documents efforts to preserve rain forest habitat in the surrounding area of Costa Rica. Although valuable for reports, Collard's book will interest browsers as well.


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ISBN: 978-0-88106-986-0

ISBN: 978-1-60734-247-2 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 5-8
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2

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