By: Leah Beth Evans
Illustrated by: Colleen Gedrich
Publisher: Tribute Books
Publication Date: August 2007
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: June 29, 2009
Three animals of the rainforest cluster together to talk. Tomagochi the monkey was discouraged and blue because he “thought there was nothing special about him.” He was always looking outside himself and only seeing the beauty and special qualities his friends possessed. Now Peshe, the tiger, had a beautiful coat and as the king of the jungle he was known to be “fast and strong.” Everyone knew that tigers were very special. His friend Mocho, the tucan, was another beautiful creature of the rainforest. He had “shiny black feathers and a rainbow beak” and could fly. Everyone knew that tucans were very special. Monkeys like Tomagochi just weren’t!
Tomagochi’s two friends tried hard to make him feel better by impressing upon him that he was indeed very special. Mocho and Pesche were not only special, but they were very wise. Mocho told Tomagochi that “Everyone has something special about them. You just have to wait.” Tomagochi, who wasn’t very handsome, didn’t appear to be convinced. “It doesn’t matter how you look on the outside,” said Pesche. Soon, however, the group’s conversations would come to a screeching halt when one day a disturbing thing began to happen. The rainforest was being invaded by bulldozers driven by men wielding axes. The animals began to flee. Pesche ran like the wind and Mocho urged Tomagochi to hide. That something special inside Tomagochi was about to be revealed. What was he going to do to save the rainforest?
This is a marvelous story by a different kind of author. This value-based tale was written by an environmentally conscious fourth grade girl. It is her way of telling the world about the importance of the rainforest, its horrifying deforestation and its unstated, but essential role in ecology. The storyline flows nicely, keeping the reader wanting to know in what way Tomagochi will come into his own and discover something special about himself. This is a special kind of story written by a special kind of gal!
Quill says: There are many ways to save planet Earth, but having young heroes like Leah Beth Evans and friends like Tomogochi will make it much easier!