A flower that’s three feet across, weighs 20 pounds, and smells like rotting meat? Sounds like something out of science fiction, right? Wrong: You can find the giant rafflesia plant – and many other oddities and curious creatures – hiding in our planet’s many rain forests. For kids fascinated by statistics and weird facts, this issue is a wonder: They’ll find out about the incredible biodiversity of rain forests, which are home to strangler figs, 100-pound rodents, and glowing click beetles, and take a closer look at their valuable products, such as rubber, manioc, natural medicines, and more.
The rain forest is also home to hardy humans – like the Pygmies of Zaire, the Yanomami of the Amazon, and the Asmat of New Guinea – all of whom have found ways to live in harmony with their environment. But what will happen if that environment is destroyed? Follow the efforts of eco-tourists, the rock star Sting, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company to raise awareness about the alarming rate of rain forest destruction due to mining and logging. Kids concerned about rain forests will also learn about “sustainable harvesting” and political efforts to protect them. Rain forests, for kids, are made vital and fascinating in this issue – providing them with an important introduction to conservation awareness.