cover image Amazon: A Young Reader's Look at the Last Frontier

Amazon: A Young Reader's Look at the Last Frontier

Peter Lourie. Boyds Mills Press, $17.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-878093-00-4

Ecology-minded youngsters have reason to cheer of late, with the increasing number of titles (such as this one) that examine various endangered habitats of the earth. Loosely structured as a travelogue, this first-person account describes the author's trip to the heart of the Amazon basin. He encounters a world in flux, where human colonization threatens to decimate the jungle and its countless natural resources. Lourie demonstrates how the culture and way of life of a region's people is determined by the environment: seasoned Amazon settlers and Indians harmoniously fish, tap latex from rubber trees and pan for gold in the river, while colonists new to the area destructively burn the rain forest to create open land for farming. Unfortunately, his book lacks immediacy and focus. Lourie's tone is more maudlin than passionate, and his frequent digressions and changes in tense prove confusing. Santilli's photographs fail to breathe much life into the expedition; his subjects--often shot from a great distance--have a dusty, filtered look. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)