On the Banks of the Amazon


2005 Appalachia Writers Association Book of the Year in Children's Literature

Book description

Enter into a rain forest adventure full of mystery, exotic plants, and wondrous creatures.  Dawn breaks. Howler monkeys call with haunting growls from the treetops as poison dart frogs search out insects on the forest floor. Pink dolphins swim the mighty Amazon while caimans float, still as driftwood.  Two wildlife hunters watch and listen.  What are they doing there!  Find out as you explore and safari on the banks of the Amazon.

Review: School Library Journal

“…The text is rhythmic in both English and Spanish, giving a factually accurate description of a particular niche in this disappearing habitat.  Both text and pictures are bordered, with the bright detailed watercolor illustrations both reinforcing and augmenting the test…”—

Classroom Activities

Facilitate whole class participating in shared reading and discussion of On the Banks of the Amazon. Read aloud the story. Ask the following open-ended questions:

1.     What did you learn from the story?

2.     Who do you believe should read this story?  Why?

3.     Which animal or plant interested you the most?  Why?

4.     What are your responsibilities in caring for animals and plants? Explain your answer.

5.     If you could be any animal, what animal would you chose to be?  Why would you want to be that animal?  How would you act? What would you do? Describe a day in the life of that animal.

6.     What are animal habitats?  Why is it important to protect animal habitats?

Assign selected words

Use words from the story that are grade-level appropriate. Assign two words to pairs of students. Ask students to create flash cards that explain and illustrate what each word means. Use flash cards to create a “rainforest” word wall.

Assign student partners to complete a chart. Refer to the book and other resources. (List 8 animals)

Identify as a rainforest animal

Describe an activity of that animal

Draw an illustration of the animal

Pink dolphin
swims slowly
illustration of pink dolphin

Inform students that they have an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned about rainforests through a performance or activity.

1.    Talk show host-Interview the animals or the two hunters

2.    Act out the activities of a particular animal and let other students guess the animal being portrayed.

3.    Create a rainforest postcard. Design one side of the postcard with an illustration/picture of the place. Write a message about the rainforest on the opposite side. Place all the postcards in a box so students can look at the cards as time permits.

4.    Create a greeting card in the shape of a caiman. Write a message on the card. (Directions and materials list are attached)

5.    Make animal masks of animals in story. Students wears mask and act out the behavior of the animal. Photograph students wearing masks and display pictures on wall. (Directions and materials list are attached)

6.    Make a rainstick. Students use the rainsticks to create the sound of rain in a rainforest. (Directions and materials list are attached)

7.    Each student will cut out a shape of a rainforest animal or plant. Student will write a poem or riddle on the shape, color it and attach to a green string to make a rainforest vine. Hang vines in classroom to create a rainforest. (Directions and materials list are attached)

8.   Make an A to Z class book, On the Banks of the ________________. (Use name of creek or river near school, rather than Amazon. Also, use plants and animals associated with the selected creek or river). Each student will write and illustrate one page of the book, each student using a different letter of the alphabet. Bind the book together to keep in the classroom.