¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado; Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest

"...a rare and beautiful thing that will enthrall young readers—and everyone else as well....exquisite mixed media illustrations..." – De Colores

About the Art

In creating the illustrations, I wanted to give readers a clear, detailed, and scientifically accurate view of the amazing species found in the cloud forest. Yet the forest’s thick vegetation and constant cover of mist and fog presented a challenge. My solution was to remove the clouds and limit the vegetation. I then represented the fog and mist with squares of translucent paper framing the alphabet letters. This allowed the species to be in plain sight. Inspired by scientific illustration, I created precise paintings in a graphic style. I added collage elements that recreated, in a controlled way, the natural layers that define the forest.

Selecting the species to animate the text involved consultation with many experts. The chosen species needed to live in the cloud forest of Ecuador and coexist in the olinguito’s range in the western Andes. It took seven months to identify an appropriate tarantula for the text. I talked with nine scientists and naturalists to determine that Pamphobeteus augusti fit all my criteria.
To research the forest, I spent four days in olinguito country in Ecuador. There I saw and photographed an olinguito! I also gathered plant specimens during my long hikes. I used the specimens to create printed patterns and collages for the illustrations.

I came back from my trip amazed at the interconnectedness among all life-forms in the cloud forest, and with a deep respect for what these rich places mean to humans and the earth. After the book’s publication I plan to remove the silhouettes of the zoologist that I temporarily taped to the pictures. This is my way of saying, “Let’s tread lightly in such marvelous and magical habitats.” —L.D.