Welcome to Marianne's Web Site


A new fan - 2014

A new fan! Feb. 2013

Rainforest diorama-Windy Hill Elem.

St. Lukes Lutheran School

"Wild" about books at Mabry Elem,

St. Joseph School rain forest scene.

Being interviewed at Brookshire Elementary!

With Harvey, the sloth!

Rain forest frogs at Gemini Elem,

Howler and me!

We are "morpho" butterflies.

Book Expo America-NYC

Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme

Jeanette Canyon creates her art with an array of colors, patterns and textures, all sculpted from POLYMER CLAY. The reliefs are then photographed so the illustrations are practically tactile.

The book has created so much excitement! Teachers and students continue to come up with so many terrific curriculum connections.

Students at St. Joseph's School in Melbourne, FL sang the rain forest song at their Book Fair behind an amazing rainforest background Pre-K to Grade 6 art classes created.

In Tampa at Mabry Elementary there were many wonderful displays of my books in their media center. See one of them in the column to the right!

In Oveido at St. Luke's Lutheran School, 2nd Graders studied different rain forest animals and wrote their own stories with illustrations. This project and others about my books were displayed in all the hallways of the school. What a thrill to see my picture books interpreted by students from Grades K-5. They really did a terrific job!

In April 2011, I was invited to read this book at the Palm Beach Zoo and afterwards one of the zoo attendants brought in Harvey, a real sloth! I had never seen one up close like that before. What an experience!

In 2013 this book became available as an App, and was voted by Kirkus as" one of the best educational apps for children in 2013".

AWARDS AND REVIEWS

Benjamin Franklin Gold Award
iParenting Media Award
NYSRA 2010 Charlotte Award
IRA Teacher’s Choices Award
Mom’s Choice Award


"Adding perfectly to the exotic rainforest theme, Jeanette Canyon’s beautiful polymer clay illustrations will be the first feature to draw the reader’s attention to this entertaining counting book. Skillfully using the traditional tune “Over in the Meadow,” Berkes describes the activities of rainforest babies from a wide variety of animals, swinging the readers along like the marmosets she begins with, and inviting them to sing like the five baby parrots by including the music in the back. If the fun rhythm and pictures were not enough, other back matter, including information about each animal mentioned, the rainforest in general, a finding game, and recommendations to encourage child participation both from the author and the artist, make this picture book an excellent teaching tool on many levels."

— Children’s Literature (June 2007)

A rhyming story of counting jungle animal babies and their mothers. Beautiful pictures and wonderful repetition that even the youngest students can follow along with. Once again as in the authors previous book, “Over in the Ocean,” number 10 is the father taking care of the children. A story you will be asked to read again and again.

— Indiana Library Federation – Read Alouds Too Good to Miss 2008-2009

Another variation on the familiar song, this one enumerates some of the unusual fauna of the rain forest. It not only spot-lights some of the animals-marmosets, parrots, honey bears, leaf cutter ants, etc.-but also offers pertinent information on the habitat. Berkes describes the different layers of the rainforest and its importance to our global ecology, and suggests movement activities for children to act out the rhyme. The unusual and colorful illustrations are made with polymer clay and then photographed, giving them a three-dimensional look. Each spread has the text and a number on the left against a dark-green leaf background, and shows one animal family with the correct number of babies as well as several other sets of indigenous flora or fauna to count. A long double page shows all the levels of the rain forest in cross section, and children are challenged to count the animals previously encountered and now hang-ing on the vines and hiding underneath the trees, etc. This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest.

— School Library Journal – Judith Constantinides (May 2007)

Another variation on the familiar song, this one enumerates some of the unusual fauna of the rain forest. It not only spotlights some of the animals—marmosets, parrots, honey bears, leaf cutter ants, etc.—but also offers pertinent information on the habitat. Berkes describes the different layers of the rainforest and its importance to our global ecology, and suggests movement activities for children to act out the rhyme. The unusual and colorful illustrations are made with polymer clay and then photographed, giving them a three-dimensional look. Each spread has the text and a number on the left against a dark-green leaf background, and shows one animal family with the correct number of babies as well as several other sets of indigenous flora or fauna to count. A long double page shows all the levels of the rain forest in cross section, and children are challenged to count the animals previously encountered and now hanging on the vines and hiding underneath the trees, etc. This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest.

— Slimy Bookworm (June 2011)

Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme is wonderfully successful at rising to the challenge by combining music, counting and remarkable art to present some of the most compelling animals of the tropical rainforest.

Author Marianne Berkes of Hobe Sound, Florida, adapts the whimsical classic song “Over in the Meadow” to bring both a counting element and a musical element to the rainforest habitat. And on a “Tips from the Author” page, she tells teachers and parents how to lead children in body movements that mimic the animals. What fun! Berkes is a former teacher, librarian, and children’s theater director.

Illustrator Jeanette Canyon of Columbus, Ohio, brings truly remarkable talent to the book: each page is meticulously assembled as relief art from polymer clay, then photographed. The result is compellingly vibrant, almost tactile, and brings a remarkable dimensionality to the subject.

“Polymer clay,” says Canyon, “is a wonderful, friendly, pliable and colorful media for both children and adults to work with. As a fine artist, I love to create art with an array of colors, patterns and textures, and to make things with my hands – just as children do!” She uses a variety of common kitchen implements, including a pasta machine, food processors, cake decorating tools and other shaping utensils. After the colorful clay is rolled, sliced and diced, it is carefully placed together.

— Entro – The Mom’s Choice Award Magazine (Spring 2008)

Using the well-know rhyme “Over in the Meadow,” this book creates a world of rainforest animals and their young. The polymer clay illustrations give a realistic view of the tropical rainforest. The book includes added information about each rainforest animal from the story and includes the tune/​song. CU: The rich language can be used with craft writing. The author and illustrator provide pages with tips about extended activities that include actions fro each animal, discussion about the layers of the rainforest, and counting lessons.

— 2008 I.R.A Teacher’s Choice Awards Comments

Did you ever think that you would like to take a trip to a tropical rainforest to see all the exotic animals and strange plants there? Like its predecessor, Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef, this book follows the rhyming pattern of the popular nineteenth century song “Over in the Meadow” by Olive A. Wadsworth to describe various jungle animal parents, their babies, and what they do. One marmoset swings. Two morpho butterflies flit. Three parrots squawk. Four leaf cutter ants scurry. Five honey bears scramble. Six boas squeeze. Seven poison dart frogs hop. Eight ocelots pounce. Nine sloths creep. And ten howler monkeys hoot. Again, as author Marianne Berkes notes, “All the rainforest animals behave as they have been portrayed. That’s a fact!”

This is another “Sharing Nature With Children Book” from Dawn Publications, which is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth. The author has spent much of her life with young children as a teacher, children’s theater director, and children’s librarian, and knows that children enjoy brilliantly illustrated books with predictable text. Therefore, the book not only contains factual scientific information but weaves that material into a poetic text that is fun to read and reinforces counting too. And it has curriculum components in the back about the rainforest habitat and animal families. Illustrator Jeanette Canyon once more provides striking relief sculptures with polymer clay. Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme has deservedly won several awards, including the iParenting Media Award. It was a joy for me to read and review it.

— Stories for Children Magazine – Wayne S. Walker (June 2009)

This book is written (and can be sung) to the tune of “Over in the Meadow,” a favorite children’s song. Not only are the words catchy, but the illustrations are awesome too. All of the illustrations are done in polymer clay. This is definitely a book to have. This award-winning team also wrote and illustrated Over in the Ocean. Over in the Jungle is a look at the rainforest and the unique animals that call it home. Read it, sing it, or just admire the art in it. This book is fun and sure to delight children of all ages.

— Parent Line (May 2007)

Readers will almost be as awestruck by the cadence and artwork in this book as they would be by the actual rainforest. It is a convergence of song, rhyme, numbers and incredible illustrations which will make it a favorite among a span of ages. Author Marianne Berkes adapts the song, “Over in the Meadow” seamlessly to her original verse. Her years as a teacher, librarian and children’s theatre director, in particular, inspire professionalism in her work. Jeanette Canyon’s illustrations make use of relief art made of polymer clay, which she photographed, adding to the book’s feeling of movement and creativity.

— Ventura County Parent Magazine (April 2007)

Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jeanette Canyon, presents life of the tropical rainforest through counting and brilliant art. Each page brings a new animal of the jungle to your childs eyes while also allowing them to practice counting to ten. Howler monkeys, cutter ants and ocelots, oh my! Music and fun facts about the animals are also incorporated for further learning. Over in the Jungle is a winner of the iParenting Media Award. Illustrator Jeanette Canyon uses polymer clay to create her colorful sculpture illustrations, which are then photographed for her books. She received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. Canyon lives in Columbus with her Christopher Canyon, who is also a creator of many childrens books.

— Ohioana Quarterly – Meredith Wilkie (Fall 2008)

Through this engaging counting story children will sing, hoot, hop, squawk, and squeeze in concert with enchanting rainforest families. Each spread illustrates a sequential number quality and travels through various layers of fauna with a verse sung by a different rainforest family. Verses spotlight several rainforest mothers and a father howler monkey teaching their little ones communication skills while they share pertinent information on different rainforest layers. Stunning, brilliant illustrations made from polymer clay and then photographed provide a three-dimensional appearance to a double-paged spread. The rhyme, based on “Over in the Meadow,” concludes with an elongated cross-section where children will search for previously encountered families hanging from vines, hiding behind foliage, and peaking from trees. End material includes music for the song, information about each animal’s real family traits, and additional facts about the rainforest community. Here is an attractive, engaging book on a very important habitat that children and educators will enjoy for either recreational reading or interactive learning in the library or classroom. Recommended.

— Library Media Connection – Donna Steffan (December 2007)

Working entirely in polymer clay, Ms. Canyon imbues her images with so much light, life, and motion that you’d swear her creations were animated stills rather than original sculptural art. Somehow, I had missed Ms. Canyon’s previous collaboration with one Ms. Marianne Berkes when they came out with, Over In the Ocean: In a Coral Reef, (which was the recipient of the Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, doncha know). As such, Over In the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, is very much the same deal. Having adapted that old song “Over In the Meadow” to different locales, Berkes takes a tried and true format and simply fills it to overflowing with a vast array of rainforest creatures. The result could easily have been a hashed do-over without any originality. Instead, the adaptation is smooth and seamless, the facts at the back of the book quickly correcting any misunderstandings. There are also tips on telling this book aloud for storytime, and even a step-by-step process of how Canyon creates her art. What could easily have degraded into a rote form emerges instead as lush and detailed as its tropical subject matter. Color me impressed.

The book opens as the mottled canopy of a rainforest, seen from high above, fills the interior cover. On the first two-page spread, two marmosets are swinging gaily across a soft rising sun. “Over in the jungle /​ Where the trees greet the sun /​ Lived a mother marmoset /​ And her marmoset one. /​ ‘Swing,’ said the mother. /​ ‘I swing,’ said the one. /​ So they swung and they hung /​ Where the trees greet the sun.” Colors pop out at the viewer as animals tumble over and above one another in a haze of action and rhyme. We see the wide iridescent blue of the morpho butterflies fluttering above their now discarded chrysalises. We see sweet honey bears sipping nectar and howler monkeys, their mouths all agape, as they hoot and holler up a storm. By the end, the book rounds everything out with a huge double page spread of all the animals featured, hidden amongst the different striations of the rainforest, from the forest floor to the tops of the trees or “emergents.” Kids are encouraged to locate and count all the creatures they saw before. “When you find all the creatures then this rhyme is done.”

It’s the little things that sometimes impress me the most. Sure, I could wax rhapsodic over the sheer range of colors and ethereal images that appear in this book. But you know what I really love about Canyon’s work? She cares about details. For example, as the book counts up from one to ten, a single leaf on the left-hand page carries the imprint of each number. And sitting on that leaf is a glistening raindrop. You might not notice, in fact it would be easy to miss it, but the number of raindrops increase with every number. They do so with a great deal of subtlety, though, so you wouldn’t necessarily notice the first few reads. But really, that’s what I love about the book. Multiple readings yield incredible rewards. I’m definitely not alone in cooing over the marbleized orange/​red leaf cutter ants as they chew through an enormous leaf. And look! A second reading shows that somehow or other Canyon found a way to throw shadows from behind her subject matter. How do you outline the shadow of an ant from the underside of a leaf made out of clay? Or convey a sense of motion when a poison dark frog throws itself up and backwards towards a sharp pink bromeliad? Talent, possums. Just sheer talent….Two thumbs up.

— A Fuse #8 Production – fusenumber8.blogspot.com (NY Public Library Children’s Librarian) (March 2, 2007)

This lively book takes the reader on a marvelous journey through the rainforest, meeting everything from marmosets and boas to sloths and dart frogs. Combining counting, rhyming and music with vibrant illustrations, the book does a wonderful job of bringing remarkable dimensionality to the rainforest.

— Genesee Valley Parent – Jillian Melnyk (April 2008)

This book will help children to count and read in rhyme. It tells about a mother marmoset and her marmoset one. A beautiful blue morpho butterfly flits through the forest with her mother. Three parrots go squawking as they fly away. Four little ants hurry as they scurry across the rainforest floor. The beautiful eye-catching illustrations in this book were done by Jeanette Canyon. This is a wonderful book for children ages three to eight.

— The Nashville News – Mary Barrett (April 1, 2009)

Nevada City’s Dawn Publications specializes in children’s books about nature and the environment. This one, meant to be recited to the tune of “Over in the Meadow,” offers an unparalleled peek into the rainforest, where parrots squawk, sloths creep, howler monkeys hoot, and leaf cutter ants scurry. The rhyming, counting text is illustrated in dramatic relief art sculpted from polymer clay, which is photographed after being affixed to the page. Abundant end material describes a rainforest community and the lives of its creatures, offers tips from the artist, and includes playful movements devised by the author so that toddlers can mimic the rainforest animals, making this book a delight for home and school alike.

— Connie Goldsmith – California Kids! (May 2007)

(5 star rating) Over in the Jungle is a wonderfully written sing song story about some of the many animals that live in the jungle. It is done to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”. This paperback picture book is beautifully illustrated with bright, eye catching pictures that were created with clay. Children will love learning about animals such as the marmoset, the morpho butterfly, leaf cutter ants, honey bears, boa constrictors, poison dart frogs, ocelots, sloths, and howler monkeys. They will enjoy singing the song and following along with the story and pictures. I enjoyed the story and I found it brought out the child in me as I sang the story. I would recommend this book for any library serving children of preschool through 3rd grade.

— Lane ESD Book Review Program – Sarah Todd (July 2007)

I love this book. Fun rhyming/​sing along for ages 2 – 7. The illustrations are incredible. This is one of the nicest illustrated children’s book that teaches about the environment that I have ever seen.

— Children Of the Earth (childrenoftheearth.com) (April 2008)

Over in the Jungle is a counting book based on “Over in the Meadow.” Various rainforest animals are named on each page as the book counts from one to ten. The striking illustrations are made from polymer clay and are vividly colored. The back of the book contains a Hide-and-Seek page with all of the named animals, the melody and verses for singing, information on the rainforest and each baby/​parent relationship mentioned, information on each animal, body movements for each animal, a description of how the art was created and a bibliography of other nature awareness books by Dawn Publications.

I reviewed the paperback copy of the book. It is also available in hardcover. Every preschool, kindergarten, music and physical education teacher should have a copy of this book. Public and school librarians should also use the book for storytimes and classes. The wealth of information and multiple uses for the book make it one that can be utilized over and over with a different emphasis each time. The illustrations make it very appealing, also. Whether studying counting, animals, rainforest, baby animals, art, nature, music or large motor skills, this book is a winner.

Highly recommended for ages 2-7.

— Catholic Library World – Anne Hoffman (December 2007)

WOW! What a delightful story!! Kids (and lots of adults) will be dancing, singing, and laughing to this charming story. It’s a treat for the eyes and a treat for the ears. Shouts of “read it again, read it again” will echo down school hallways and in neighborhood homes. Full of magical discoveries and mesmerizing illustrations, this is a book that will be treasured for many, many years.

— Dr. Anthony D. Fredericks, Prof. of Education
Author of over 30 children’s books

Rainforest creatures and young children the world over – with their innate connection to all things wild – make the perfect team. This book will jump start children’s natural passion, ensuring that there will always be rainforests wild and green.

— Jim Crisp, founder of Children’s Eternal Rain Forest, Monteverde, Costa Rica

A rhyming story with gorgeous collages takes you into the tropical rainforest. “Over in the jungle, in a bromeliad heaven, lived a poison dart frog, and her little froggies seven.” A delight for little ones.

— Travelforkids.com (October 2007)

From learning the ABCs to counting . . . there’s plenty to explore in the pages of delightful picture books for young readers. Illustrator Jeanette Canyon has a new book, Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, which is a counting adventure through the jungle, complete with pouncing ocelots and creeping sloths making their way from one to ten.

— The Daily Record – Wooster Ohio – Julia Wiesenberg (Sept. 23, 2007)

Children’s librarian and teacher Marianne Berkes presents Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, a softcover picture book that teaches young readers the numbers one through ten with an engaging, singsong rhyme about various wild animals of the rainforest. “Over in the jungle /​ Wearing wings of shiny blue /​ Lived a morpho butterfly /​ And her little morphos two. /​ ‘Flit,’ said the mother. /​ ‘We flit,’ said the two. /​ So they flitted and they fluttered /​ Wearing wings of shiny blue.” Of particular note are the brilliant colorful artworks; the last few pages of Over in the Jungle offer some fun facts about rainforest animals, as well as tips from both the author and the artist about the process used to create the book. Highly recommended.

— Midwest Book Review (April 2007)

For the youngest readers, strikingly colorful poetry books apeal to the eye and ear, like Marianne Berkes’ Over in the Jungle with vivid illustrations by Jeanette Canyon. The number of jungle animals grows on each page in a subtle counting exercise.

— Book Beat – www.metrokids.com – Frank Lipsius (April 2008) (October 2007)

A rhyming story with gorgeous collages takes you into the tropical rainforest. “Over in the jungle, wearing wings of shiny blue, lived a morpho butterfly, and her little morphos two.”

— Travelforkids.com – Costa Rica (October 2007)

Over in the Jungle, A Rainforest Rhyme introduces us to the rainforest, the many animal families that populate it and some of their behaviors. This title is also a counting book:

Over in the jungle
Where the trees greet the sun
Lived a mother marmoset
And her marmoset one.
?Swing,? said the mother.
?I swing,? said the one.
So they swung and they hung
Where the trees greet the sun.

Beautiful polymer clay sculpture illustrations set the scene for this title. The back matter again includes tips from the author and illustrator, facts about the rainforest, a game of animal hide and seek and the sheet music and lyrics for the song. This book is the winner of the 2008 Publisher?s Marketing Assoc. Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Interior Design, 2008 International Reading Association?s Teacher?s Choice Award, 2008 Mom?s Choice Award and 2007 iParenting Media Outstanding Products Call Award.

— Wild About Nature – Kim Hutmacher (June 26, 2009)

Reproducible Bookmarks
Four (morpho butterfly, boa constrictor, conure parrot and poison dart frog) of the ten rain forest animals that are portrayed in this book, are available as bookmarks.

NOW AVAILABLE! Board book version (24 pages, $7.95) for young ones released Sept. 2008! Hardcover ($16.95) and paperback ($8.95) are 32 pages for older students with additional information about the rainforest, a glossary and "Tips from the Author" and "Tips from the Illustrator."