In spectacular and astonishing collage detail, Jeannie Baker captures the deep beauty, mystery, and hidden vitality of the desert landscape – and why it needs our protection.
Chico’s grandpa has taken him on holiday where he grew up as a child, out in the desert. Chico has no interest in exploring the land – the desert jungle frightens him, and he’d much rather play on his his tablet. Grandpa decides that it is time to show Chico the secrets and the wonders that the desert has to offer so that he will not fear it but, instead, welcome it, embrace it and help protect it. Grandpa shows Chico paths through the cactus and the scrub, teaches Chico the plants' names – ocotillo, cholla, cirios, pin cushion, fishhook – and, soon, Chico begins to understand the wonders of the wild. He learns the value of watching, waiting and listening for all the life that hums within his desert home.
Jeannie Baker is the author and illustrator of a number of children's picture books, including the award-winning Where the Forest Meets the Sea and the critically acclaimed dual language picture book Mirror. Her characteristic use of mixed media to create detailed and elaborate collages is stunning and unique. Originally from the UK, Jeannie lives in Australia. Find Jeannie online at jeanniebaker.com.
The author adds thoughts about how more and more children are subject to “nature-deficit disorder,” an indifference to the natural world caused by isolation from, and ignorance of, the plants and animals around them. As this profoundly stirring tale hints, connection is the only cure. Both characters present Latine. Rich in sights and insights alike.
In this new tale, Desert Jungle, Baker captures the exotic mystery of a desert environment through the eyes of a child, as his grandpa draws him away from his device and teaches him, and us, about his desert home, and explores why it needs our help to continue to be sustained and protected.
Jeannie Baker’s creations have astounded me since I was small, staring for hours on end at her mixed-media collages that bring to life wonderous stories that sometimes don’t even need words to be told. Such joys as Window and Where the Forest Meets the Sea are household classics. In this new tale, Desert Jungle, Baker captures the exotic mystery of a desert environment through the eyes of a child, as his grandpa draws him away from his device and teaches him, and us, about his desert home, and explores why it needs our help to continue to be sustained and protected. Her author’s note at the end of the book also speaks of nature-deficit disorder, a growing worldwide problem. This is when children do not have a strong sense of belonging and connection to their natural environment and can even start to fear it. It can develop into an indifference towards environmental concerns, and towards living things that, with the current issues we all are facing, need to be understood and cared for. For ages 4+.”
Baker’s well-known use of nature in her collage illustrations is lively and engaging in Desert Jungle. Accompanying the gloriously bright artwork is a text of warmth and richness, infused with the child’s curiosity and wonder. An enlightening, intricate story (with endnotes sharing Baker’s experience researching and writing the story in the Mexican desert, and facts about plants and creatures found in deserts), Desert Jungle is the modern-day Where the Forest Meets the Sea. Highly recommended for all children, and fans of Baker’s previous books who will relish the opportunity to revisit this beloved author’s work.
Books + Publishing
This is an extraordinarily beautiful book that will be treasured for many years to come by ages 4 and up.