I found The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer in a second-hand bookstore here in Islamabad and it is SUCH a treasure. This is a story about little Brian who finds a salamander and wants to keep it in his room. What follows is a series of gentle questioning from his mum (It’s really sweet that she doesn’t say “Euww! No way!”). She asks how he can cater to the creature’s needs such as “Where will he sleep?” etc.

Brian answers all of her questions and concerns with imaginative solutions:

  • make a bed for the salamander with leaves & moss
  • bring in crickets & bull frogs to lull it to sleep
  • collect wet leaves, stumps and boulders for the salamander’s play
  • bring in other salamanders for company
  • make a pool and bring in insects for the salamander’s food & drink
  • control the insect population by bringing in birds and bullfrogs
  • provide trees and ponds for the birds & bullfrogs
  • lift off his room’s ceiling so the sun can shine through, trees can grow and so the birds can fly freely

As the story progresses with each addition, Brian’s bedroom is transformed into a lush jungle paradise!

This book is beautifully illustrated by Steven Johnson and is great for teaching little ones about cause and effect, rainforests and how we can do our bit to care for the environment.

Some activities you can do with your kids:

  • Learn more about salamanders at Enchanted Learning
  • Learn more about rainforests – I found Rainforest Alliance’s site to be a wealth of info & free lesson plans!
  • Reading Rainbow also has very nice free educational guides for this book.
  • Read The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry – more on this great book in a bit!