LONGLIST REVIEW: Once Upon a Jungle

‘Once Upon A Jungle’ is a fabulous eye-catching book that explores rainforest ecosystems. Written by Laura Knowles and illustrated by James Boast, it tells the story of the producers, consumers and decomposers living under the leafy canopy of the jungle. Beginning with the smallest creatures, the roaming beetles and marching ants, to the largest, creeping monkeys and pouncing panthers; ‘Once Upon a Jungle’ shares how nutrients are passed from one living thing to another. There may not be a happily ever after for every creature living in the forest, but each one has their part to play in the cycle of life. 

Laura Knowles has written several children’s books about natural history including ‘Once Upon a Seed’ (2016) and  ‘We Travel So Far’ (2017). She has a background in publishing, but her passion for the environment is clearly shared in her written work. ‘Once Upon a Jungle’ is James Boast’s first children’s book. His use of striking illustrations and vibrant colours make this book a stand out text.

This beautiful book is the perfect stimulus for writing non-chronological reports about the creatures that live in the rainforest, instructions about making wormeries or planting seeds and writing explanation texts about food chains and life cycles. The simple text in this books makes it perfect for identification of adverbs, prepositions, nouns and verbs. Children might enjoy trying to replace the verbs march, snacked and crept with their own words. They could also use the simple sentences within the text to create expanded noun phrases or play with alliteration - ‘the panther pounced’. Classes could explore writing the story of the ecosystems closer to home through their forest schools. In art, children could create classic butterfly prints, jungle scenes, make leaf rubbings or explore beetle art. In drama and dance, they could explore animal movements. There is so much exciting work which could come from this lovely book.

Although we chose to place 'Once Upon a Jungle' in our Picture Book Category, this could equally have gone into the Information Category.

Once Upon A Jungle by Laura Knowles, illustrated by James Boast

Words and Pictures   ISBN : 9781784937799