The Rainforest Grew All Around

Books 4 Learning-March 2011

The wondrous world of the rainforest is depicted in the brilliant illustrations (by Connie McLennan).  Each page spread also has a side bar with fascinating facts about the plants, animals, and insects highlighted in the book.

Booklist - June 2007

Large, brilliantly colored paintings offer close-up views of plants and animals in the rain forest, and the main text revises the lyrics of the traditional song, "The Green Grass Grew All Around," adapting the words to feature a rain-forest setting. The use of generic names for the animals makes singing easier, with phrases such as "And by the frog / there sat a bird . . . / the funniest bird / that you ever did see. / The bird by the frog, / and the frog in the plant, / and the plant by the sloth . . ." Meanwhile, accompanying sidebars extend the lyrics with information and better identify some of the animals: the bird is a toucan, the frog is a poison dart frog, and the ant is a leaf-cutter ant. The appended activities section offers matching games and a recipe for cookies using ingredients that originate in the rain forest. Teachers looking for a rain-forest book that invites participation will want to sing this one aloud, as they share the striking illustrations with their classes. - Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal - August 2007

Gr 2-4–This lively introduction to plants and animals of the Amazon rainforest is organized around the towering kapok tree. Readers meet a jaguar, a green boa, leafcutter ants, a sloth, and other creatures that live in its branches. The cumulative verse draws them together while the “rainforest grew all around, all around; the rainforest grew all around.” Text panels on the sides of the well-laid-out pages offer facts about the plants and animals depicted close up, such as, “Pineapples are bromeliads that grow in the ground...Two pages of activities plus a recipe for rainforest cookies provide opportunities to extend learning...–Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Rainforest Alliance - Spring 2007

"Filled with beautiful illustrations and lyrical text, The Rainforest Grew All Around is an excellent resource to introduce children to the wonders of rainforests, an important step in teaching children to be good stewards of Planet Earth." -Julianne Schrader, Rainforest Alliance Education Program Manager

Kirkus Review - March 2007

Modeling her text on the folk version of “And the Green Grass Grew All Around” (rather than William Jerome’s lurid ballad of the same name), Mitchell tours a tall kapok tree, pointing out for each cumulative verse a cat, a snake, an ant, a frog or other floral or faunal resident of its ecosystem. Sidebar notes identify each subject as a jaguar, an emerald tree boa and so forth, adding a line or two of further detail, and McLennan furnishes lush, colorful, nearly page-filling close ups of each, painted in reasonably exact detail. There’s no musical arrangement—but the author does append a recipe for “Rainforest cookies,” along with a pair of simple matching games. Alighter, less message-driven alternative to Lynne Cherry’s classroom standby, Great Kapok Tree (1990). (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8

The Midwest Book Review - June 2007

Yum, a rainforest cookie recipe, informative sidebars, and luscious illustrations, make this lovely book a keeper! The text by author Susan K. Mitchell is a cumulative rhyme that takes the reader through life in the rainforest from giant trees to tiny insects and frogs. It highlights both plants and animals. Connie McLennan's illustrations are both rich and informative. Children will enjoy the variations of subject and texture in the paintings, perhaps discovering small plants and insects not mentioned in the text. The book is a marvelous blend of text and illustration. Besides the recipe there are two matching games at the back. The verse is adapted from the old English cumulative folk song, "The Tree In The Wood." Children ages 3 to 7 will delight in this book, which will be enjoyed for years to come in both home and classroom libraries. -Judith Nasse

In the Know Mom - June 2012

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K Mitchell is a magnificent story that takes you to the Amazon rainforest where you learn about the delicate life cycle within the jungle. My daughter enjoys how this beautifully written book reads to the song, The Green Grass Grew All Around. Each page is wonderfully illustrated showing a wide variety of plants and animals that reside in the Amazon. This book is a great way to introduce new creatures like sloths and leaf cutter ants to your children.

Did you know that sloth moths live in the sloth’s fur? You can find this information on the pages’ sidebars which are filled with fun facts about the animals and plants within the book. Another one of my favorite features of the book is the For Creative Minds section at the end. This section is a terrific way to further discuss with your kids about the story they just read.

This will truly become one of your child’s favorite reads! Check out this book and other educational stories over at Arbordale Publishing. The Rainforest Grew All Around is also available as an eBook in English and Spanish.

Book Talk - July 2007

Rainforest is an adaptation of the popular song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Beginning with a fluffy seed that falls to the ground, and the rainforest grew all around, all around; the rainforest grew all around. As the song progresses, a tree, a cat (Jaguar), a vine, etc. is added, building a series of additions to this lively, fun song. Children will enjoy learning about the unique bugs and butterflies hidden on each beautifully illustrated page.

The book begins with a colorful two page illustration of the rainforest. A Jaguar lazily relaxes on a tree branch as a Sloth swings from vine to vine above the lush plants and flowers of the Amazon rainforest. Large ants gather leaves to bring to their underground garden where they will feast on the leaf fungi. The Sloth is a funny looking critter hanging from a tree branch; it almost looks like he’s smiling at you. Toucans, bats, frogs, snakes are all active in this teaming, mysterious jungle.

David Oren of the Nature Conservancy, Amazon Conservation Program verified the accuracy of the sidebar information on each page as well as the “For Creative Minds” section in the back of the book.

Arbordale’s mission is to bring science and math to children through literature. Their website also offers a list of child-friendly “Learning Links” and a set of “Teaching Activities” for parents and teachers to use to expand the book’s learning possibilities. The Rainforest Grew All Around is another winner from this young publishing company.

Make a batch of “Rainforest cookies,” and take your children on a hike through the Amazon rainforest without leaving your living room. The recipe for the delicious cookies is in the back of the book. The Rainforest Grew All Around is available at your favorite local or online bookstore. - Shirley LaBusier

The Georgia Library Quarterly - Summer 2007

This engaging book about the rainforest, inspired by the author's experience using the song "The Green Grass Grew All Around" with preschoolers, amply fills a new publisher's mission to provide "Science and Math through Literature." With intricate, colorful illustrations, views from underneath and through the leaves of the rainforest, rhyming words encouraging story hour participation -- "and the rainforest grew all around, all around; the rainforest grew all around" -- this picture book is a winner! A toucan, jaguar, emerald tree boa, bat, sloth, butterflies, leafcutter ants, moths, poison dart frogs and other creatures make their appearances. A kapok tree, bromeliads, lianas and other plant life are also woven into the verse and illustrations. Children will delight in locating tiny creatures, such as the caterpillar near the jaguar's tail. The book ends with For Creative Minds, a brief section about adaptation, also available at, and a Rainforest Cookies recipe emphasizing ingredients from the rainforest. Connie McLennan's watercolor and acrylic illustrations embellish this cumulative tale. Highly recommended. -Lora Mirza, Georgia Perimeter College

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - May 2007

The Rainforest Grew All Around is a very colorful, imaginative hardcover from Arbordale Publishing. The story teaches about the circle of life in the rain forest and the creation that lives there. It is an adaptation of the song "The Green Grass Grew All Around." Very educational, fun story!

This lovely hardcover book comes with a dust jacket and has 32 pages. The illustrations are gorgeous. Each page offers further information about the creatures mentioned in the story/song. Arbordale has quite the knack for publishing great books that are fun for young ones but very educational too! This is an "evolution-free" book, but there is no mention of the Creator either.

The "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book gives even more facts on the animals in the story and the rain forest, and it even provides a recipe for "Rainforest Cookies"! Of course, as with all Arbordale books, you can get even more information and fun facts by going to the Arbordale website at -Lisa Barthuly

Armchair Interviews, May 2007

Arbordale Publishing has provided yet another great educational tool with The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell, illustrated by Connie McLennan. The main text of this colorful children's book tells the cycle of creation of a rainforest, from seed to seed. This part of the story is meant to be sung to the tune of "The Green Grass Grows All Around." Colorful illustrations of different aspects of rainforest life highlight each verse. In addition, the main text is bordered with sidebars full of more in-depth information about the rainforest features each verse introduces.

As in all Arbordale books, the story is followed up with engaging activities. There are several matching games, thoughtful questions, and a recipe for Rainforest Cookies. The activity pages can be downloaded from the Arbordale website for easy use. The Rainforest Grew All Around can be a springboard for discussion with children about other life cycles and ecosystems, as it will inevitably pique their interest.

The author, Susan K. Mitchell, is a preschool teacher inspired to write the story by her class's reaction to the "Green Grass" song. She is the author of Stone Pizza, a modern take on the Stone Soup tale, and Kersplatypus, a future Arbordale release.

Connie McLennan created the beautiful illustrations in the picture book, and has illustrated various other Arbordale releases, including Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean and Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud.

Armchair Interviews says: Colorful and engaging--intended for children ages four to eight.  - Sabrina Williams

Children's Literature & Children's Literature Comprehensive Database - June 2007

This unique book capitalizes on the familiar song “The Green Grass Grew All Around” to present entertainment and information about the Rain Forest. The lines repeat and accumulate adding such Rain Forest entities as the seed, tree, cat, vine, snake and more. After a read or two, listeners will delight in voicing the text along with an adult reader. Or, the one syllable words will allow children to read the text on their own. Bright water color illustrations bleed from the edges of their frame and add a realistic edge to the text. Each spread contains a sidebar filled with facts about the creatures or the Rain Forest. The format is one in which the sidebars could be read separately from the sing-song text or they could be read at the same time. Either way, the clever set up will provide lots of enjoyment. It is an excellent resource to add to science lessons. End matter is a plus. The Creative Minds section tells about adaptations of the animals in the text and also has a recipe for Rain Forest Cookies. You can’t go wrong when you add this to elementary classrooms and libraries. -Nancy Garhan Attebury

The Virginian-Pilot

Brilliant. That's what this science book for young children is. And it is a science text, although disguised as an engaging rhyme that builds on previous lines. Follow the seed that grew the tree that held the jaguar ... you get the idea. Each beautifully illustrated page also contains one scientific fact about plant or animal or environment. At the back are a list of plant and animal adaptations and a recipe for rainforest cookies. Excellent.
-Krys Stefansky

Laura Williams' Musings

This book not only delivers a story for the child that can be sung but also includes information about the rainforest with facts in the sidelines of the pages. After a couple of pages, my children were singing the three line ending that adorns each double page. The illustrations are exquisite with the colors and life-like renderings of the animals and plant life of a rainforest. The Creative Minds section in back of the book allows the child to learn more about the plants and animals of the rainforest. There is even a recipe to try out. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to parents of young children. What a delightful read it is. I give this book a bright line of 5 stars. -Laura Williams

Children's Bookwatch - August 2007

Beautifully written by Susan K. Mitchell and superbly illustrated by Connie McLennan, "The Rainforest Grew All Around" is an ideal introduction to rainforest ecology and eco-systems for elementary school and middle school students. Young readers will learn amazing facts about a variety of animals and plants native to rainforest habitats. Kids will enjoy looking for rainforest bugs and butterflies nicely embedded in the detailed and complex illustrations. The text is enriched by the inclusion of 'Animal Sidebar Fun Facts' and 'Plant Sidebar Fun Facts'. Kids will learn abut rainforest animal adaptations, plant adaptations, seed dispersal, as well as what can be obtained from rain forests. There is even a rainforest cookie recipe! A special note for parents and teachers is the Arbordale Publishing website's learning links and teaching activities associated with utilizing "The Rainforest Grew All Around" as an educational resource. As fun as it is informative, "The Rainforest Grew All Around" is a welcome and strongly recommended addition to family, school, and community library Nature Studies and picturebook collections.

The Well-Read Child - January 2008

“On the ground, there fell a seed…the fluffiest seed that you ever did see…”

From that fluffy seed grows a tall Kapok tree, and in that tree grows a cat, and near the cat there was a vine…sound familiar? The Rainforest Grew All Around is based on the children’s song, “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Through this song, we get a glimpse of the rainforest’s eco-system and see how everything is interconnected. Readers are introduced to a variety of rainforest plants and animals including a jaguar, an emerald tree boa, a sloth, and many many more.

On the sidebars of each two-page spread, readers can learn more about the plant or animal featured in the song; for example, “Sloths hang upside down in the trees and move very slowly.” Connie McLennan’s illustrations are vivid and detailed, and children will delight in finding the hidden rainforest insects within the book.

With very light messaging, children will have fun and simultaneously learn to respect and appreciate the rainforest and all of its creatures. The back of the book has expansion activities “For Creative Minds” and even a recipe for rainforest cookies. In addition, Arbordale has a comprehensive list of teaching activities and learning links on their website. I highly recommend this book for any school or home library. -Jill Tullo - February 2008

What is a rainforest? Who lives there? Children, aged 3-7, are invited to take a closer look at the rainforest of the Amazon in Susan Mitchell’s award winning new book The Rainforest Grew All Around.

Written as an adaptation of the childhood favorite The Green Grass Grew All Around, Mitchell leads children deep into the jungle. Along their way, children will meet a variety of animals from the jaguar to the snake, ants to the sloth, frogs to the toucan and more.

Children’s attention will be captivated by the easy cadence of this book. Additionally they will find themselves fascinated by the beautiful and intricately detailed illustrations drawn by Connie McLennan. Children will be especially fond of the unique rainforest bugs and butterflies that can be found on every page.

Parents and teachers alike will appreciate the additional information about the rainforest and its inhabitants included in the book. Sidebars on every other page give detailed information about both plants and animals found in the rainforest. Special attention is given to jaguars, emerald tree boas, leafcutter ants, sloths, poison dart frogs, and bats as well as to kapok trees, liana vines, and bromeliads. Questions and activities, including a recipe for Rainforest Cookies, designed to make young minds think can be found in a special section in the back of the book titled “For Creative Minds.”

The Rainforest Grew All Around was awarded Learning Magazine’s 2008 Teacher’s Choice Award as well as the Honor’s Award from the 2007 National Parenting Publications Award (NAAPA). This wonderful book will be especially appreciated by teachers and parents alike looking for that extra “something” that makes learning fun and unique.

M. G. Paregian - November 2018

Another masterpiece from the well-established publisher of outstanding books for children. "on the ground, there fell a seed...the fluffiest seed that you ever did see." Thus begins the story of the rainforest. Enter the world of tigers, monkeys, snakes, and many more animals. Enter the world where a rainforest receives at times more than 60 inches of rain. That's a lot of water! There is a lot of animal activity in a rainforest and this book will show the reader the many aspects of information regarding Animal Adaptations, Seed Dispersal, and how to bake rainforest cookies. This is a fascinating book and one that will occupy and educate children for many hours.