Over and Under the Rainforest

Written & Illustrated by: 

Kate Messner & Christopher Silas Neal

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered:

  • Family
  • Kids Outdoors
  • Environmental Activism/Preservation
  • Nature
  • Pint-Sized Professor



I know I know, I’m late to the party on this one. But life is quite something in this day and age. Anywho, let’s stop talking about my life and instead let me heap praise upon this book, which is SO cool!

This is the type of book that I wish I could hop into. A child and their Tito are going on a rainforest walk together, seeking out elusive animals and eating snacks upon a hanging bridge. The pair are on nearly every page, but they’re not the focus. The illustrations focus on the vastness of the rainforest, and the menagerie of life that is being observed by the human pair. The reader’s eyes feast upon various green shades of a plethora of plants, and learn about all sorts of animals like basilisk lizards, sloths, and howler monkeys. When dusk falls, the pair must make their way home to Abuelita and the delicious dinner she’s made.

I’m sure you, kind reader, know how much I love Chris’s art style. If you want to learn more about it, I even interviewed him in a Picture Bookstagang episode! I’ll give a small spoiler here, Chronicle has a scientist that looks over his drawings for this series to make sure they’re anatomically correct and easily identifiable. Which honestly, sounds like a pretty badass job. This is the most recent book in the Over and Under series, and it’s sure to spark some excitement for young readers. And I must stick to my predictable closing line and also say I love very much the additional animal info in the back, which comes with a helpful drawing to remind us what it looks like. I also think this would be a fun way to try and find every animal pictured in the book, and talk about environmental preservation and climate justice about these delicate ecosystems that host such an array of unique animals.

This book was kindly sent by Chronicle Kids, but all opinions are my own!

Kate Messner

Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Pond, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Over and Under the PondThe Brilliant Deep, and How to Read a Story; novels that tackle real-world issues like BreakoutAll the Answers, and The Seventh Wish; mysteries and thrillers like Capture the Flag, Eye of the Storm, and Wake Up Missing; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series; and the popular Ranger in Time chapter book series about a time-traveling search and rescue dog.

Kate’s titles are frequently selected for One School, One Book and One School/One Author programs and other community-wide reads – especially The Seventh Wish, which deals with a family affected by heroin addiction, and Breakout, a novel inspired by a real-world prison break, which takes a look at privilege and perspective. Kate’s books have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. Her novel The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. won the E.B. White Read Aloud Medal, and her science picture books have been finalists for the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences/Subaru SB&F prize for excellence in science writing.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Kate was a TV news reporter as well as an educator who spent fifteen years teaching middle school English. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and is trying to summit all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in between book deadlines.

Christopher Silas Neal

Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books including Over and Under the Snow with author Kate Messner, which was praised for its “stunning retro-style illustrations” (New York Times) along with Over and Under The Pond and Up In the Garden and Down in The Dirt. He makes books that feature animals, shapes, science, friendship and silliness, and strives to create diverse and inclusive characters that reflect the kids and parents who read his books. Neal’s author debut titled “Everyone” was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as “simple, honest, lyrical”. His board book series (Animals Colors, Animal Shapes) received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. He speaks about his books, the art making process, and his career at schools, conferences, libraries and book festivals across the country. Neal is a Mexican/Eurpoean-American artist who lives with his wife and two boys in Brooklyn, NY.