Amazon River

Amazon River
Sangma Francis and Rômolo D’Hipólito
Flying Eye Books

The author of Everest now invites readers to join her on an exploration of a river that starts as a tiny trickle high up in the Andean Mountains of South America, flows across seven countries and 6,400 km. and has more than 1,100 tributaries.
I was previously unaware that the Amazon comprises three different kinds of water: the fast flowing clearwater, the slowly churning blackwater that moves almost imperceptibly across forested land (the dark colour is the result of leaves that fall and rot at the bottom), and the milky whitewater that looks rather like flowing caramel, the colour coming from a mix of sand, silt, minerals, floating sediment and broken down bits of rock.

Having described the geological features, Sangma Frances moves on to talk about the fact that in the Amazon basin there are three different kinds of river, one aerial, the surface river that is visible, and four km. down and recently discovered by scientists, the Hamza.

There’s a wealth of information about the flora (including 16,000 tree species)

and fauna – great and small – 3000 fish species, 1,300 species of birds, 2.5 million species of insects, assuredly the world’s most incredible ecosystem.

After this comes a legend about a tribal warrior said to have been turned into a huge fish called the pirarucu.

Did you know that the Amazon has been home to human life for 12,000 years, since the last ice age? Or that there are more than 400 indigenous societies in the Amazon, each of which has its own culture, language and traditions and folklore. The story of Naia, queen of the lilies is retold here.

Having described next human life along the river, the author ends by discussing some of the terrible threats faced by the Amazon,

how activists are doing their utmost to protect the precious space and a final plea to all readers to do their bit to help.

The amazing illustrations of Rômolo D’Hipólito really help readers to feel immersed in the wonders of this mighty waterway.

Altogether a smashing cross-curricular resource for schools as well as for individuals interested in learning more about an incredible ecosystem.

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