Rand McNally

I Love Costa Rica’s Rain Forest!
Young Travel Writers and Artists Contest

Prizes donated by Rand McNally’s online store at



Please take the time to check out our children’s picture book and CD:

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica

Available online or from Baker and Taylor


Our “I Love Costa Rica’s Rainforest!”

Writing and Art Contest for kids was a huge success!

We had 176 entries in 3 age categories.

Please click here if you’d like to review the contest rules.


We cannot thank Rand McNally’s Online Store enough for its gracious generosity for donating such extraordinary, educational prizes. 

Please visit their online store today for the best maps, atlases, globes, GPS systems, software, puzzles, books, geography and travel related gifts available anywhere.

We’d also like to thank all our wonderful judges: Dave Fox; Ronna Mandel: Jessie Voigts, PhD; Tim Ravenna; Eli Gerzon; Tim Lytle and Rachel Glade. They volunteered many hours of their precious time to read heaps of wonderful entries! Click here to read more about our judges and to visit their websites.

Entries were fairly and objectively judged based upon all of the following criteria:

Following the contest rules
Creativity of the story’s title
Originality of the story
Demonstration of writing ability for age of entrant
Appeal of artwork
How well the art related to the story
Art and essay’s demonstration of knowledge about Costa Rica’s rain forest

Each of the above factors were equally considered during the judging process, so winning entries demonstrate a wide variety of different strengths. Please note that the decisions of the judges are final.  

* Please note that entries and artwork may not be copied or published elsewhere without permision from Smart Poodle Publishing.


Contest Winners

Kindergarten – Grade 1 Category

Hansel DesouzaFirst Place Winner
Hansel Desouza
Age 6
Grade 1
Cupertino, CA


Stained Glass and the Terrible Trio

Hnseel Desouza artwork

Once upon a time there lived a sloth, a quetzal and an ant in the rainforest of Costa Rica. They were called the 'Terrible Trio' because they always did terrible things like stealing. There was a human family which included Madre, Padre, Hermano and Hermana who lived in the Basilica of Martha. The Terrible Trio and the human family were enemies. The sloth said, "Let us become rich."

The quetzal said, "But how?"

The ant said, "Let us steal the humans' stained glass window while they are away."

One day when Madre and Padre had gone shopping, the Terrible Trio came in and stole some stained glass windows. Hermano and Hermana screamed, but nobody could hear them. They animals wanted the windows so that they could sell them and make some money from them. They disappeared and sang a song, "We got your window, we got your window. Come, come catch us if you dare!" The children could not follow them, and they felt useless. The animals laughed and heaved the stained glass to the rainforest.

When the human family returned they were astonished and suspected it was their enemies the Terrible Trio who had stolen it. The children told them about the robbery by the Terrible Trio. But the parents were not sure, so they set a trap in the rainforest. They put a big net for them and covered it with a fallen tree. The next day the Terrible Trio started playing a game of tag. The sloth said, "I am too slow and cannot play this game." The quetzal said, "I will rip my feathers if I run."

But the ant said, "You two are making up too many excuses." So they couldn't play that game. So they decided to play a game of monkey-in-the-middle. They got caught in the trap.

The ant said, "We can get out of here if we dig a hole in the ground." The quetzal agreed with the ant. So they dug a hole in the ground and escaped. When Madre and Padre came to check the trap, they fell into the trap themselves and the children rescued them.

The animals took the stained glass to a shopkeeper to sell. They asked the shopkeeper, "How much will you give us for this window?"

The shopkeeper said, "I will give you 2000 dollars in cash." The Trio took the money and put it in the bank. Later they used the money to buy expensive food for themselves.

One day the human family were visiting Abuelo and Abuela in their car and stopped at the store to buy some muffins. Then Hermano said, "Look dad at that shiny glass."

Hermana said, "It sure looks like our stained glass from the Basilica."

Madre said, "Maybe we could buy it and put it back in the Basilica."

Padre said, "We could call Abuelo and tell him that we will be late, since we have to put the stained glass back."

They asked the shopkeeper for a telephone to tell Grandma and Grandpa that they would be late. Then they asked the shopkeeper, "How much for this stained glass?"

The shopkeeper said, "2700 dollars." But the family did not have enough money. Abuelo then sent some money with his friend. They used the borrowed money from Abuelo and Abuela and paid for the stained glass.

'"Will we have enough money to buy muffins?" asked Hermano.

"No," said Padre, "but we have our stained glass back." So they took the stained glass and went back and replaced it in the Basilica.


emily juncosaSecond Place Winner
Emily Juncosa
Age 7
Grade 1
Davie, FL

Playing Games

Emily Juncosa

Once there was a white face monkey and a baby pisote, and they were friends. They liked to play together. They played games like hide and seek, jump rope and hopscotch. They liked to eat bananas, fruit and nuts. One day they were walking in the forest and they came upon the Arenal Volcano. There was smoke coming out of the top. When they saw the smoke they started running and screaming. The white face monkey and the baby pisote started running home.


Third Place Winner
Lauren Nicole Ramirez
Age 6
Grade 1
Plantation, FL


The Ant Goes to Costa Rica
lauren nicole ramirez

I am a little ant that lives in Costa Rica. One day a macaw named D.J. was going to the lake. She saw a two-toed sloth and she was beautiful. And they became friends forever. Then they saw a white face monkey that was silly. "You are silly," said D.J. the macaw.

"I am not silly," said the white face monkey.

"I am your mom said the two-toed sloth," and they were friends for ever and ever. They saw a baby pisote. And went home.


Grade 2-3 Category

Peter FinchFirst Place Winner
Peter Finch
Age 7
Grade 2
Harrisville, RI


Sally the Sea Star’s Adventure


Sally the Sea Star lived in an ocean off the coast of Costa Rica. She always wanted to live on the land in the rain forest. One day she told Mama Sea Star that she didn’t want to live in the ocean anymore. She wanted to live under the shade of the rain forest trees in Costa Rica.

Mama Sea star said, “This is your home. There is no place better than your home. This is where you grew up, and I do not permit you to go away from here.” Sally was sad that Mama Sea Star would not let her go, but she was a good sea star, and she obeyed. The next morning, Mama Sea Star felt a little bit guilty, so she gave Sally permission to swim to the shore to see the trees.

Sally swam, and swam until sunlight blinded her. She washed up on the shore. There was so much sparkling white sand! Suddenly, a bird swooped down and picked her up in its beak. Up, up, up she went. She flew so high and so far away from the sea. All she saw was green! Where was the water? Unexpectedly, the bird dropped her. Down, down, down she went. She landed in a bird’s nest.

It was shady but also bright with sunlight, under the canopy of trees. She had never seen trees up close before. They were beautiful. These were different from the pink coral and other sea plants she knew in her ocean home.

Cool water dripped off huge waxy green leaves onto Sally. A bright green tree frog with red eyes and orange toes hopped by.

She saw a parrot, with a beautiful red-feather head, yellow body, and blue legs. As she watched, it spread its wings and swooped down out of sight.

Next to the branch she was in, a furry grey sloth with long fingernails hung from a branch. A baby sloth hung onto the mama sloth’s chest.

A bright green tree snake slithered around the branches of the trees camouflaging itself within the leaves.

She saw a bird pecking in the nearest tree. It was a horrible noise. Peck, peck, peck. She didn’t like the noise.

A beautiful blue butterfly stopped at a brilliant red flower to take in some nectar. As she watched the butterfly flutter away, she leaned out over the side of nest. Suddenly, Sally lost her balance and fell out of the nest onto a big leaf. Slide, slide, slide. She slipped from leaf to leaf and slid onto a vine.

It was much warmer, humid and darker in the understory of the rainforest. Hanging from the trees, she saw bunches of yellow bananas and mangos. Spider monkeys swung from vine to vine. Swing, swing, swing. The next thing Sally knew, she was in the hand of a spider monkey swinging with him from vine to vine.

As he reached for a banana, he let go of Sally. Down, down, down she fell. She landed on a big patch of soft moss. Down here on the forest floor, the jungle earth was very dark, damp and dirty.

She saw a big rotting leaf. Some leaf ants were marching in a line carrying away pieces of leaves they had cut. She saw some mushrooms and a peccary (kind of like a pig) was eyeing the mushrooms suspiciously. Suddenly, a big, fat, hairy, eight-legged tarantula was moving toward her. Razor sharp pincers were clicking at her. He began to scurry toward her at an alarming rate.

All at once, the spider monkey swooped down and grabbed her. The banana was still in his mouth. He had gotten to her just in time.

It was all too much. Sally began to cry. She said, “I don’t want to live in the jungle. I just want to go home.” She missed her friends the whale, the dolphin and the manatee in the sea. She missed her mama. With Sally in his hand, the spider monkey took a leap and grabbed a vine. He swung first to the right, then to the left.

All of a sudden she could see and smell the salty water. It was the ocean, her home. Sally had gotten her wish. The spider monkey was her friend. The monkey ran across the white sand to the edge of the ocean and gently placed her into the sea.

Mama Sea Star was waiting for her. “Where have you been? I have been so worried.”

 “Oh mama. I am so sorry. You were right! There is no place better than home.”

“It is alright. I’m glad you are home safe.” said Mama Sea Star. Sally told Mama Sea Star about her friend the monkey who saved her.

Every weekend after that, Sally and Mama Sea Star would swim to shore together. The spider monkey would be waiting for them. Sally would wave hello. The spider monkey would answer, “Ooo, eee, ooo, ah, ah.” and, for an afternoon, they would re-live their special adventure in the rain forest of Costa Rica.

The End.

adeline shaw

Second Place Winner
Adeline Shaw
Age 9
Grade 3
Middleville, MI


Gringa Adventura

adeline shaw

After a full night of dancing the Cumbia with a lot of Ticos with very loud music, I woke up to the sound of parrots flying over our cabina. I knew it was the perfect day to go to the waterfall! As soon as I was up and dressed I was on my way, even though I didn’t brush my hair or teeth! On my way, I didn’t notice that everything was suddenly, unusually quiet! Once I noticed I was freaked out! I looked down to see a line of leaf cutter ants carrying leaves much bigger than their bodies across the path! On my way to the waterfall I started to realize that it seems like everywhere I go I am going up or down a hill. I wanted to get back to my cabina before the neblina rolls in.

Finally for what seemed like forever I got to the waterfall. Even though I was finally there, something wasn’t right. I felt like eyes were staring at me. Suddenly POW! A coconut was thrown straight at my head! MISS! Those capuchin monkeys are always up to something! Good thing I have good reflexes so that I jumped out of the way REALLY quickly!

At first I was so scared that I forgot I was at the waterfall. So when I heard a roaring noise I ran for my life! Once I realized it was just the waterfall, I raced back! But you would never believe what happened next! A coral snake was coming closer to me by the second. I was really scared so I just stood still. I figured that was the right thing to do. Suddenly it struck me! I started to feel drowsy, and I couldn’t get any air at all. I collapsed. I tried to call for help, but it seemed like the forest was getting noisier by the minute, and I was sure I wouldn’t be heard.

My Grandpa happened to be on his way for his morning swim, and when he saw me he instantly knew what had happened. So he picked me up and carried me to Ranchos Amigos Restaurante where they had a phone. They called a driver to take me to the hospital in Cuidad Neilly. I was half asleep the whole way. On the way I had a dream that a huge morpho butterfly was following us. As soon as I got there, the doctors gave me some medicine. Shortly after, I was feeling a lot better. My Grandpa then promised to take me to Manuel Antonio to heal at the beach. After a hike at the National Park, a swim in the very warm Pacific Ocean and some resting on the beach, I knew I was healed. As I sat down to a dinner of rice and beans at El Avion, staring at an iguana, I realized that this trip was just one big adventure!

Justin La JesseThird Place Winner
Justin La Jesse
Age 8
Grade 3
Spanish Fort, AL


Costa Rica Rainforest Adventure
justin la reese


One day I went to visit Costa Rica to explore the tropical rainforest. I found a path that I decided to follow. I saw a lot of plants and animals. All of a sudden I felt something sticky on my leg. When I looked down, I saw an anteater trying to lick an ant off my leg with his tongue. They eat with their tongues because they don’t have teeth. The ant was chewing on a leaf. It was a leaf cutter ant that lives in a large colony underground. When I picked up the leaf there was a millipede under it. The millipede had so many legs I couldn’t count them.

I kept walking and I heard a weird noise. I started to look around and then I looked in a tree top. I saw a howler monkey making loud noises and he was much smaller than me. Then, right next to him was a toucan bird that had a large colorful beak. It was eating fruit from the tree. I took one step and I almost stepped on a coral snake. It was red, black and yellow. So, I jumped over it when it wasn’t paying attention to me. Then, I saw a bat sleeping upside down in the next tree. I didn’t want to wake up the bat so, I quietly tiptoed past the bat. Then, I saw a lot of coffee plants growing in the rainforest. They had many red cherries. These cherries have a hard shell and hold coffee beans. When I went past that I came to a plant called Torch Ginger. It looked like a pinecone and was bright red. These plants were surrounded by many ferns. Ferns have been around for millions of years.

Then I came to a huge volcano and the ground started to rumble. The volcano erupted. A lot of lava burst out and I started running away. In about a few minutes later I was out of the rainforest. “That was a close one,” I said. I can’t wait until my next adventure in Costa Rica.


Grade 4-5 Category

kevin huo

First Place Winner
Kevin Huo
Age 10
Grade 5
Foster City, CA


The Living Color: Costa Rica Rain Forest

kevin huo artwork


Smush! Smash!

Dropped down from the hundred-foot tall tree, I was back to the ground again, I stepped on a bunch of lichens, falling leaves, mosses, branches and fungi on the dark, warm, shaded forest floor in the jungle of Costa Rica Rain Forest. Millions of insects live here among the plants.

Hi, I’m Kevin, the rain forest "Oologist!" Or, shall I explain?

Okay. Well, I’m a researcher, a zoologist, but specialize in the study of eggs, especially birds' eggs. As a scientist, I am particularly interested in the breeding habits of birds, and the study of their nests. I have come to the rainforest to study this place, and figure out new species high in the canopy, those lovely, brightly-colored birds, like Keel-billed toucans and Hyacinth macaws! 

When I am way up there in the canopy, I love to play with red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, alien opossum and hammer headed fruit bats. They are my great friends, who teach me how to live a colorful life in this wonderful place! Many, many rain forest animals live in the canopy. It is made of leaves at the tops of the trees.

It had been a long day. After sketching and measuring enough birds’ eggs samples and having an interesting encounter with a rare, monstrous Oleander Hawk moth, I decided to return to the field station. I cleaned off my shoe with a falling bromeliad leaf found on the ground and a small twig. As I headed back, I bent down and found an army of ants marching across the rain forest floor, and a bug. It was a Hercules beetle! I put it down and kept on moving.

I walked a few miles, until I noticed I was lost. It was getting dark. I kept on trying to find my way around, but it was no use. I decided to put up my tent, and went to sleep. All night, it rained harshly, but, it was very quiet. Unlike what people imagined, a rain forest is not filled with animal sounds.

I woke up to find butterflies of all sorts. I easily spotted owl butterflies, glasswing and the Blue Morpho butterflies circling around my tent. Living Colores in the Costa Rica Rain Forest!!! Instead of shooing them away, I sat down and drew each one of them. They were fascinating.

So, I packed up and moved on. I walked past the tree where I had been, when I realized that there was a baby jaguar. Its foot was stuck under a tree branch. I walked over and helped it out. The baby jaguar cuddled me. That was when a big jaguar walked up to me and was growling “Grr, Grr!” I just let the baby jaguar go. The jaguar left with the cub. It left some footprints in the ground, so I drew them in my notebook. I moved on. 

I finally got back to the base, and I met with our leader. I told him what happened, and, I showed everyone what I sketched. After an adventurous outing and research trip into the rain forest, I had slept in the amazing Costa Rican Rainforest, with the friendly, wondrous and colorful living forest full of creatures.

This is a partial chart of what I saw:

Hyacinth Macaw
Length 3 ¼ feet
Weight 3 ¼ lb.

Keel-Billed Toucan
Length 20 inches
Weight 16 oz

Hammer Headed Fruit Bat 
Length 10 inches
Weight 11 ½ oz
Wingspan 35 inches

Red Howler Monkey
Length 24 inches
Weight 12 lb.

Giant Anteater
Length 4 ft
Weight 85 lb.


Aiden HawksworthSecond Place Winner
Aidan Hawkesworth
Age 9
Grade 4
Naples, FL

The Greatest Banana Tree
Aiden Hawksworth


Once in the deep sizzling Costa Rican rainforest, there lived a group of tropical animal friends. Among these friends was a slow sloth named Keith, a mischievous howler monkey named Joe, and a quick jaguar named Duma. Everyday these friends met near a banana tree to play games, talk, and plot schemes of pulling pranks on other forest animals. The banana tree was the finest banana tree in the world. It was 40 feet tall, with leaves as big as automobiles that gave the creatures shade. The bananas on the tree were the biggest, sweetest, and tastiest bananas in the world.

Then one day, as the animals were playing and eating lunch on the top branch of the banana tree, the tree started shaking! The animals looked down and saw that humans were striking the trunk of the tree with axes. Each time they hit the giant tree their axes broke. The humans got frustrated, jumped in their truck and drove away. The animals heard them say they would be coming back with a bulldozer! They also heard say them they couldn’t believe how much they were going to get paid to build a five star hotel in the middle of the rainforest.

The animals felt horrible. If the tree were cut down they would have no place to meet. The forest would be devastated and they might even be caught and put into a zoo! The animals decided to make a plan. When the workers returned, Joe the mischievous monkey quickly jumped into their bulldozer and stole their lunches while Duma distracted them. Keith fell off of the tree, landed on the seat of the bulldozer and stole the key so that the bulldozer was stuck there and powerless.

Without the key to the bulldozer, the workers took a break. They didn’t have their lunches so they climbed the tree and took three bananas. When they ate the bananas, they couldn’t believe how wonderful they were! Even though it was a boiling hot day in the rain forest, they felt cool because they were in the shade of the superb, huge tree. The head worker called his boss and told him that they shouldn’t construct a hotel at that spot. He told him the bananas were too breathtaking and magnificent. His boss was there in twenty minutes. He tasted the bananas and agreed.

Instead of building a hotel, the boss decided to use the bananas to make banana bread, banana suntan lotion, banana hand lotion and banana shampoo. He sold all these objects, made a lot of money and erected the Costa Rican Rain Forest Animal Preserve.


nimai agarwaiThird Place Winner
Nimai Agarwal
Age 10
Grade 5
Germantown, MD


The Whistleblower
nimai agarwal

"What a pretty whistle!" exclaimed the explorer, picking up the oddly carved object. "Wow! Look at these designs!"

Suddenly, "AEAEAEEII!" The howling resounded through the Costa Rican rainforest. John ran. He was a young explorer in love with the rainforest.

Suddenly, a dark-furred creature appeared from the thick foliage of a tree. "Only a monkey," John sighed in relief. It was the howler monkey.

John was tired. Night was falling. He sat down against a tree, and gazed up into the starry sky through the high-reaching branches.

Suddenly he smelled smoke. The sound of whirring machinery and the faint thuds reached his ears. He ran to the spot where they were working and hid behind a tree to watch. A group of about twenty people were cutting down tree after tree.

"Loggers. I must stop this illegal destruction!" he muttered.

"I must figure out a plan to stop them. What can I do? I will be a man and confront them." He sighed and stepped out of his hiding. "You guys are not supposed to be cutting the trees! It’s against the law."

"We’re blasted!" exclaimed Crusty, the leader of the loggers. "Watcha’ think we should do, Pudge? Capture him?"

"Yep! Can’t afford to get arres . . . "

In a second the two loggers were upon him. He struggled and flailed but their strength was much greater than his. He was soon captured.

Suddenly, he felt the whistle become burning hot in his pocket. Instinctively he took it out and blew. "Pheeeewwwww!" A loud rumbling sound erupted, filling the four directions. Almost instantly, many animals – wildcats, jaguars, and hummingbirds, - stormed to the site. John was terrified. The trees were uprooting themselves and walking to the center of the conflict.

The loggers were equally terrified. The animals lunged at the loggers. It was chaos. The loggers brandished their saws like swords and started to destroy trees and animals. The trees and animals started to retreat. Abruptly, a rough hand picked John up. He started to scream. He looked up and saw to his great astonishment the wizened face of a tree. The tree lumbered away with John in his grip. All the animals followed.

After some walking, they arrived in front of a huge door that stood about forty feet high. The tree opened the door and carried John into a room which was more like a palace. There he saw four more trees. In the middle sat a majestic tree, who looked like he was as old as the creation itself.

"Ahhhhh." The king tree spoke very slowly. "A human. And bearing the Ancient Whistle of Summoning. Interesting! May I ask who you are and how the whistle came into your custody?"

"Sir," said John, "I was walking through the forest when I saw this whistle. I had never heard of it. What is this place? Who are you? What is this whistle? And what do you intend to do with me?"

The tree laughed and said, "This whistle is the root of our very being. It has the power to freeze us. But it also has the power to return us to our original state – as you see us now. Before you blew the whistle we were unthinking, mute creatures, but now, because of you, we are walking, talking, and able to defend ourselves. Thank you!"

"Who are we? We are the A.E.O, the Anti-Extermination Organization. We are merely creatures struggling for survival. And when I speak, not only am I speaking on behalf of all trees but for all the forest animals. We have not done anything to the humans, yet they destroy thousands of our kind every day."

"They are also cutting in a government-protected area, so even by human standards they are doing evil," said John helpfully.

Martal said gravely, "The clock is ticking. The humans are destroying us like never before. We must find a way to stop this."

"John, please speak. You are also a human, so you must have some thoughts on how to stop the enemy."

John thought for a moment. "These humans have powerful machinery, so the only way to defeat them is by our greater number and strategy. Listen, everyone." There was pin-drop silence." We must make a sneak attack. All of you trees must stand still where they are cutting. When the humans come with their chainsaws to cut you down, grab them! They won’t know what happened! Sounds good?"

"An interesting plan," rumbled Martal. "We will execute your plan tomorrow."

"We can never thank you enough; first you awaken us with the ancient whistle of summoning. And now you think up a plan to save us from the loggers. Thank you," said an elderly tree gratefully to John.

The meeting ended, and John was escorted to his room for the night. Twisting and turning John could hardly sleep because of excitement.

Finally the moment came. Next day, John, Agaar, and an army of trees assembled at the spot where the loggers were to begin work. Agaar then picked him up and placed him in his upper branches.

"Whirrrr!" The loggers must be coming! The trees became still, settling into position. Nobody moved. And then the loggers came. They still looked dazed and frightened from yesterday’s events.

"Come on! Start work! But watch out for those ‘I don’t know what’s,’" said Crusty. Then they started working.

"Ahh!" he screamed. "Those things again! Run!" And then all Hades broke loose. The trees attacked the loggers, and the loggers sliced at the trees. But the trees' combined strength could not be overcome. Soon, the loggers were subdued and tied down.

"Woah! What a terrifying experience!" exclaimed John, still trembling from the clash. Well, the loggers were captured, and Martal said that soon they would be sent to the forest ranger station. John thanked the trees and slowly started heading home, feeling shaken, but proud of his role in saving the rainforest.

Prizes donated by Rand McNally’s online store at


First Place Winners in three grade categories (5K-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade) will each receive these three prizes (Value listed):

Second Place Winners in three grade categories (5K-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade) will each receive these two prizes (Value listed):

Third Place Winners in three grade categories (5K-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade) will each receive this prize (Value listed):



Honorable Mentions
(In alphabetical Order)

Kindergarden – Grade 1 Category

Hallie FumeroHallie Fumero
Age 6
Grade 1
Davie, FL


Going to Costa Rica
Hallie Fumero

The green and black poison dart frog was going on a trip to Costa Rica. When It got there, it was so beautiful. All the animals were beautiful too. But the only poison frog was the blue arrow-poison frog. It was a poison frog in Costa Rica. It was scared, and her mom wasn’t with her. She got more scared then she ran into the airplane. Then it was happy. When it got home, it thought about all the fun it had. The frog was sad. She asked when the airplane was going back to Costa Rica. He said in September, but it was only May and she got really sad. She cried, but then the man took the green and black poison dart frog back to Costa Rica.

Breanna GalindoBreanna Galindo
Age 6
Grade 1
Odessa, TX

Rain Forest Adventure

Breanna Galido

Once upon a time there was a butterfly named Mary. Mary the butterfly took an adventure. Would you go on an adventure? Would you go on an adventure like Mary? I am in the rain forest! Do you know why Mary took an adventure? Mary’s at the volcano! The rain forest is in Costa Rica. The problem was when Mary saw her friends she saw that they were heading toward the volcano when it was about to pop. But she solved the problem by grabbing them with her six legs!

jaden hankinJaden Hankin
Age 6
Grade 1
Dania Beach, FL


Costa Rica Story
jaden hankin

Once there was a boy who went to Costa Rica and saw an iguana, and the iguana was talking to a blue arrow poison frog. They were talking about an alien spider, and the iguana told the blue arrow poison frog that the alien spider would eat them whole.

Then the boy said, “Why don’t you just step on the alien spider?”

And the iguana said, “The alien spider is as big as a building!”

Suzanne JuncosaSuzanne Juncosa
Age 7
Grade 1
Davie, FL


The Birthday Party
Suzanne Juncosa

One day a boy went to Costa Rica on an airplane. He was the only boy on the airplane, the rest were a pisote and a white face monkey. They were all talking about who’s birthday it was. The boy didn’t talk because he knew it was his birthday tomorrow. The pisote and white face monkey figured out it was the boy’s birthday so the pisote and white face monkey made a big present.

So the next day he went to his house in Costa Rica. When he turned on the light the pisote and white face monkey said, “Happy birthday!” And the boy was surprised. He blew out his birthday candles and he made a wish. His wish was to live in Costa Rica, and his wish came true.


Adrianna PlancherArianna Plancher
Age 6
Grade 1
Davie, FL


Costa Rica Story
Adrianna Plancher

There was a white face monkey and a gaudy leaf Frog. They were talking about a race. The race was about who was fastest. Then it was time for the race. As they were running they stopped and looked at each other and said, “We don’t have to have a race.” And they walked home together.



Grade 2 - 3 Category

kylie grantKylie Grant
Age 8
Grade 3
Davie, FL



Fun Times in Costa Rica
Kylie Grant

Once there was a little girl who went on a field trip to Costa Rica with her class. Her name was Kylie. But uh-oh! She got lost and separated from her group. When she was walking in the rain forest looking for her classmates she came across a red-eyed tree frog named Rosalina. Rosalina (Rosie for short) said that she knew almost everything there was to know abut Costa Rica. So Kylie took Rosie and put her in her pocket and they went exploring.

They learned that kids in Costa Rica go to school for 9 months, They also learned that there are many animals in Costa Rica like the quetzal and the green iguana. Some plants are the Granada fruit and some orchids. There is also a volcano in Costa Rica.

When Rosie and Kylie were climbing up the Arenal Volcano to see Rosie’s older brother named Ricardo they heard a loud deep noise that sounded like a toucan but when they looked up they saw a howler monkey. Next they saw another howler monkey. They must have reminded Kylie about school because she remembered that her class was leaving tomorrow and that her teacher had given Kylie and her classmates a journal about Costa Rica.

So she looked up howler monkeys and she read out loud that howler monkeys have a very deep loud voice that they use to communicate.

Once they got up the volcano they went down a slide to get Ricardo’s neighborhood. They went to his house and he had his friend over. His name is Jorge. He was a gaudy leaf frog and a wizard. They were talking about their friend to two-toed sloth. He was in the hospital because he was bitten by a coral snake.

After they were done Jorge made Kylie a potion that made her as tiny as they were. Ricardo also owned the house next door. He let Kylie and Rosie sleep there for the night.

The next morning they ate breakfast, Kylie took a potion Jorge had given her and put it in her backpack. Then Kylie and Rosie quickly climbed up the volcano. Once they got to the top of the volcano Kylie could already see her classmates and teacher boarding the airplane. They quickly climbed down the volcano and started running to the airport, until they met a scarlet macaw named Alejandra who took them the rest of the way to the airport.

Kylie drank the potion and thanked Alejandra and then walked to the airplane. Forgetting Rosie was still in her pocket; Kylie boarded the plane with her friends. Once they had entered the U.S.A. Kylie heard a very familiar voice saying, “Hurry up plane move faster! My skin is drying out.” It was Rosie.

As soon as they landed they ran to the bus and quickly took a seat. Once they got back to school Kylie put Rosie into a tank where she could be on land in the water. Kylie ran outside, got in her car and all the way home she told her parents every single bit about her trip. She told them most about her new best friend Rosie. Kylie had a field trip of her own!


Jasmine MacchiaJasmine Macchia
Age 8
Grade 3
Davie, FL



Peace in Costa Rica
Jasmine Macchia

Once Upon a time there was a macaw named Rodrigo. His Mom’s name is Graciela and his Dad’s name is Gonzalo. They were deciding to move to Costa Rica. So they were flying with their wings, and they landed on their feet.

Then Rodrigo met a gaudy leaf frog and Rodrigo said, “Do you want to play a game?" And the gaudy leaf frog said, “Yes.” They played tag. Rodrigo was it and he was flying to tag the gaudy frog. The gaudy frog was jumping away.

When they were done playing they sat on a rock to talk. Rodrigo asked the gaudy leaf frog, “What is your name? And where are your parents?” Gaudy frog answered, “My name is Nicholas and my parents died in the last hurricane.” Nicholas also told Rodrigo that people in the rain forest were very mean to him and he was very lonely.

Graciela and Gonzalo macaws invited Nicholas to go and pick some wild berries and to come and live with them. Nicholas was very happy. Rodrigo and Nicholas decided to bring peace to the rainforest of Costa Rica. They saw two girl gaudy leaf frogs fighting over a strawberry that they found in the forest. The macaw and the Nicholas said to them, “Instead of fighting over a strawberry, why don’t you just cut it in half!” The girls thought it over and agreed to share the strawberry.

Rodrigo and Nicholas decided to travel all over Costa Rica to tell people to stop fighting and to be nice and to share. In the end they made Costa Rica a peaceful place.

Michael PierceMichael Pierce
Age 8
Grade 3
Jupiter, FL


The Boy Who Went on a Tour of the Costa Rica Rain Forest
and Came Back Half Millipede

Michael Pierce

There once was a boy, named, Michael who went on a tour of the Costa Rican Rain Forest. When the guide wasn’t looking he went into some bushes and found a millipede. The boy walked out of the bushes and the millipede followed. Michael caught up with the group and the millipede kept following. When they stopped, the millipede bit Michael! Then the millipede walked away.

The tour guide wanted the group to find leaf-cutter ants in the group so he said to stop and dig. Michael started digging. When he was digging, he found a strangler fig, and it grabbed him! The fig pulled him into the ground but the guide did not notice!

Michael got hit by a radioactive poison and it went over his millipede bite. It hurt very much! Right away, he felt his body begin to tingle. Then he started to grow millipede legs. He got as many legs as a millipede! Then finally the strangler fig shot Michael out and he landed right in front of the tour guide. The guide asked, “What happened?” Michael explained everything.

Then he was sent home as half-millipede. At first his parents were angry at him but then they calmed down and asked him what happened. He told them about his adventure in the Costa Rican Rain Forest. After the shock wore off, his parents wondered how they would ever be able to afford 200 pairs of shoes to go onto all of those feet.

Then he lived happily ever after, even though he is late to school a lot because he has to tie all of those laces.

The End

Anita SummersAnita Summers
Age 7
Grade 2
Greenville, NC


My First Trip to the Rain Forest
anita summers

Hi, I am Anita. I live in North Carolina. My family and I went to the rainforest last summer. My dad, my sister and my mom and I flew in an airplane. We drove in a bus to a village next to the forest. Our hosts were very nice. They taught us about the rainforest and the animals and plants in it.

I saw an agouti eating papaya at a feeder put out by our hosts. A blue-grey tanager also ate there. Then a rufous-tailed hummingbird buzzed by, followed by another. They chased each other around a tree, then dashed out of sight.

I went for a walk with my babysitter, Telvinia. I saw lots of things in the jungle. I saw titi monkeys swinging in the trees. One jumped into sight from up in a mango tree. Another four followed. One had a baby on her back. They were eating the fruits.

Looking up, I saw a keel-billed toucan fly into a cecropia tree. It squawked loudly, then flew away again far across the river. I used one of the leaves from the tree to shade me from the sun.

We walked along the river. There were reeds growing at the water’s edge. We found a baby caiman. It squirmed away into the marsh plants.

There were lots of butterflies… A blue morpho slowly floated by, softly beating its plate-sized wings.

My sister, Veronica, spotted a funny caterpillar that looked like it had two faces, one on each end of its body. Daddy explained that the face on the wider end was actually its tail. It waved this false face around at us. Was it daring us to grab it?

Veronica was fascinated by leaf-cutter ants. She followed them, and watched them for a long time. They were carrying cut purple flowers and green leaves from a tree to their home underground. It was cool that they were all sticking together on their little paths.

We also saw a poison dart frog crawling around in the fallen leaves. It was a metallic blue-green and black. It had 2 tadpoles on its back. It was taking them to a tiny pool in a plant that was growing on a tree branch.

We went in a boat to visit Telvinia’s village. The houses were built up high on wood poles. The walls were made of bamboo stems, and the roofs out of palm leaves. We saw an iguana run along the top of one of the roofs.

I met a pet parrot named Fami. Fami bit the strap on my life-jacket. It was funny. He was a red-lored Amazon. We saw and heard hundreds of these parrots flying high above each evening when we went to dinner.

Telvinia fetched a knife, and we went behind the house. She cut some reeds close to the roots. She cut them to make very thin strips. She weaved them together to make a small basket for me, and a matching scoop for my sister. They both had a green and white pattern on them. I think they are beautiful. We keep them on a shelf in our room at home. They remind us of Telvinia and our jungle adventure.

I can’t wait until next summer when we go back to the rainforest!

Colby TomaselloColby Tomasello
Age 8
Grade 3
Land O lakes, FL



Pitcher Plant’s Problem
Colby Tomasello

Once there was a pitcher plant. He lived in the rainforest in Costa Rica. It was wet and mucky. He liked his home most of the time. But pitcher plant had a problem. He kept catching bugs. He was too full all the time. He asked snail to help with his problem.

Snail said, “I could put slime all over you.”

But pitcher plant said, “No, too gross.”

The leaf cutter ant said, “I could destroy a tree with all those bugs on it for you.”

But pitcher plant said, “No thanks. It wouldn’t be that much use. They could still crawl all around after.”

The howler monkey said, “I could scare all of the bugs off by howling. Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo!”

But pitcher plant said, “I think that won’t work.”

The anteater said, “I could eat up all the ants.”

But pitcher plant said, “I don’t really like ants, but thanks anyway.”

The ogre-faced spider said, “I could freak the bugs out.”

“No, but I know what you could do,” said pitcher plant. “You could hang out on that fern above me. When a bug flies by, you can trap it in your net and catch it. If I want one, you could drop it down. If I don’t, you can eat it yourself!”

So the ogre faced spider agreed. He caught some bugs for himself. He gave pitcher plant a few when he wanted them. Pitcher plant was not too full any more. And he had a very good new friend.

Grade 4-5 Category

Cassandra AndersonCassandra Anderson
Age 9
Grade 4
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Friends in the Rain Forest
Cassandra Anderson

Once upon a time there was a momma monkey and a baby monkey. Their names were Nicky and the baby’s name was Sammy. Sammy had a friend who was a butterfly, and her name was Thea. They had a friend named Tooky. Tooky was a toucan, and he is a type of bird that lives in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Everyone is best friends, and they live in the deepest part of the rain forest.

Every day these friends meet on a little branch of a giant rainforest tree to talk. Tooky sits on the far end and the others sit on the other end while Thea floats around the group. This group of animal friends talks about what they see. One day they saw a group of people exploring the rainforest and collecting insects of all kinds. Thea said, “At least they didn’t find me!”

The group of animal friends talked about how the people of the world were robbing the rainforests of many things such as coffee, timber, cocoa beans, and other plants that people think are good for medicine. Penelope told them that she thought people were bad for not taking care of the rain forest and littering in it. She said she did not like how they dropped things on the ground and did not pick things up that belong in the trash. Tooky agreed, and they all talked about what they could do to stop the people from hurting our rainforest environment like picking up trash, replanting trees and taking better care of it.

The people were getting thirsty and found a river to drink from. An hour later it started to rain, and the people all got wet and very scared because of how hard it rained and the thundering noise. Luckily, the group of animal friends was in a big tree that covered them so they were dry and comfortable.

Nicky said “We are so lucky to have water and food to survive in this big huge rain forest. It is such a nice forest, and I hope my daughter will grow up to live here. Did you know that our rainforest helps to maintain the earth's limited supply of drinking and fresh water?”

“That is very very true Nicky”, said Tooky. We should be proud of God who planted these trees and made this forest for us.”

 “No”, said Thea. “It is for every animal in this rainforest. Not just us!”

One day there was a parrot who was stuck in a tree. Tooky found the little parrot. Tooky asked her what her name was and she said “My name is Penelope the parrot. My parents are dead, so I have no one to stay with. Do you mind if I stay with you?”

Tooky said, “Sure, I just have to ask my friends.” So Tooky and Penelope went to find their friends and set up a new home for her. They decided there was plenty of room because their rainforest is so big and has 1500 flowering plants just within a 4 mile radius of their tree.

“What kind of bird are you?” said Sammy.

“I am one of the 400 species of birds right here in the rainforest! I am a parrot!”

“So am I”, said Tooky. “I am a bird.”

Thea laughed and said, “I am one of the 150 species of butterflies in our rainforest too!!!”

“What am I?” said Sammy.

“You are my daughter” laughed Nicky.

“Mom, I was not talking about that! What species are we?”
“You are a monkey, honey”, said Nicky.

“Mom, I am not honey, or the bees of the forest would eat me! I am not liquidy either. I sure do love to eat honey though!”

Everybody laughed. Thea said that it was getting dark and it was time for bed. They all agreed and went home to their warm, safe homes in the deep beautiful forest.


Claire BowerClaire Bower
Age 9
Grade 4
Naples, FL



I Love Costa Rica’s Rain Forest
claire bower

Hello, my name is Carter and I am about to tell you the story that changed my life. I had decided to take a trip to Costa Rica, spend a little time in the city of San Jose, and my Uncle Jeff was flying me there in his plane. My family had decided to let me stay by MYSELF since I had just turned 22, even though they wanted to come and have a late birthday celebration while there.
I was so excited, and then realized something could happen to me. I walked to the cockpit and my Uncle Jeff said, “We’ll be there in about 15 minutes.”
I replied, “It’s not about that, what if something happens to me while I’m here?”
He then handed me some kind of tracking device and said, “Since your phone will not work, use this. It’s like a GPS/calling device and it can also tell you where you are if you press this orange button that says, tracker. If you press the orange button two times, a map comes up.”
Then I realized his hands were not on the controls of the plane, and I started to panic. He told me the plane was on autopilot and not to worry. We started to land and then he told me that I’d have to get to San Jose on foot through the rain forest. I screamed over the noise of the plane.
“The rain forest! You’re kidding. How will I find my way?” He told me to use the map on the tracker. I told myself everything would be okay.
After landing, I grabbed my bags, said goodbye to my Uncle Jeff, and set off. When I stepped into the tropical landscape, I heard all different kinds of birds and animals. I also saw many different kinds of plants I had never seen before. I pressed the orange button two times and followed the map. After an hour, I decided to take a break at a river, so I sat down. I placed the tracker on the ground, but apparently it was too close to the edge, and it fell into the river. I was so mad at myself. I jumped up and looked straight down into the water, but the tracker was already rushing downstream. I started to run and yelled, HELP!
After awhile, I came across a group of five animals. When the animals saw me, they all hid behind the trees, but when I told them that I wasn’t going to hurt them, they came out and introduced themselves one at a time. A howler monkey on the left side started. His name was Marty. Then, came Tami the toucan, Benjamin the butterfly, Anthony the anteater, and Camilla the caterpillar. I introduced myself and said hello. I also told them that I was in my last year of college, but was on break. I told them I was trying to find my way to San Jose, but my tracking device fell into the river and I was lost. Then, Tami said, “I’ve flown over San Jose, but for some reason, I don’t know the directions when I’m not flying. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” I told Tami.
All of a sudden, Marty started talking about a pile of dried leaves, fallen vines, and dead branches. I asked Anthony, “What in the world was Marty talking about?”
Camilla and Benjamin both said at the same time, “We can use it to make a shelter for you.”
I told them that it would be wonderful. Marty also said that there had to be some roots of the Strangler fig around. I asked him what a strangler fig was, and he told me it is a tree whose roots grow in a downward direction and then the roots grow upward wrapping around the base of the tree until it is completely covered by roots. The roots actually squeeze the tree till it dies and the trunk ends up hollowing out.

So I said, “I’m guessing you mean to use the roots as a rope.”

Marty said, “Yes, what else could we use them for?”
I could feel my face turning red, then I realized that I had been talking to animals for about 10 minutes. I looked over at Camilla and asked her, “Can you guys really talk or am I just hallucinating?”
Camilla told me that I wasn’t hallucinating and that they all could really talk. Right then and there, I fainted. When I woke up I saw the most amazing shelter I had ever seen. The only thing missing was a proper door and windows, but at least they had left a rectangular hole we could use as a door. I thought that I would only have to stay in it for two days, but five days had passed, and I was still in the rain forest. I decided to take a walk with my five animal friends, and after walking for about 15 minutes, we came across a young man who was about 27 years old. He was in a bulldozer ready to cut down one of the many Strangler Figs. Right at that second, I yelled, “Do not cut down that Strangler Fig just to get paid. How would you like it if I knocked down your house?”

There was no reply. Then the man spoke and said, “Hi, my name is Trace and now because of what you said about knocking down my house, that I’ll stop cutting down the rain forest and try to get my company to stop.”

That night I realized that I wanted to stay in the Costa Rican rain forest and try to save it with my five new friends. I called my Uncle and told him that I would be staying. I got my laptop shipped to me and had my cell phone set for long distance calls. Trace also decided to stay, and we convinced his company to stop cutting down the rain forest. I finished my last year of college online, and after a year, the company Trace worked for turned into a “Save the Rain Forest” company, and it is still working to this day. It was truly and amazing adventure.


Kennessy Del CastilloKennesy Del Castillo
Age 10
Grade 5
Tucson, AZ



The Red-Eyed Frog
kennesy del castillo

Hi, I am a Red-Eyed Frog who lives in the Costa Rica Rainforest. My name is Ken. I really like looking at the flowers in the forest. My favorite ones are the orchids.
One day while I was jumping, I became very sick. I was so sick that I could not jump anymore. I tried all kinds of medicines, but none of them worked. Then I wondered if the aroma of the beautiful orchids would help me feel better. So I went on a safari hunt to find some orchids.
After hopping for three miles, I found a bunch of orchids!! I ran to them and picked one so I could quickly smell its sweet fragrance. Suddenly, I was not tired or sick anymore! I ran home and told my parents about everything that happened. They were so happy that I was not sick anymore.
Later that day we all went and picked a bouquet of orchids to put in our house!! So I guess it is important to “stop and smell the orchid.”


Daniel MarquiaDaniel Marquina
Age 9
Grade 4
Naples, FL

The Adventures of Keating
Daniel Marquina

One of the most adventurous and treacherous treasures was probably found by the adventurer, Keating. The secret of where it was buried was entrusted to him by a captain called Thompson. The treasure was in Costa Rica. This treasure contained items as expensive as sixty million dollars. This treasure has two life-sized statues of the Blessed Virgin holding the Divine Child. Each of these statues was made of pure gold. The treasure also had two hundred seventy three jeweled swords, candlesticks, and an enormous hoard of gold.

Keating’s story is much more dangerous. It all started deep in the Costa Rican forest. Keating was hiding from his crew, because they were after him. The crew knew that Keating was in search of the famous treasure. Keating waited for the crew to fall asleep and that’s when he escaped. He started to walk through the tall orchids. They were everywhere and smelled so sweet. He thought the colors must be beautiful at sunrise. There was a full moon so he could see through the forest. He saw a white-throated Capuchin Monkey. This monkey was spectacular with the light of the moon. Keating could see white fur on his face, throat and chest and dark black fur covering the rest of the monkey.

Looking at the monkey Keating got distracted and fell down a deep golden hole. While he was falling, he tripped and hit his head. The pain made him unconscious. When he awoke he smelled chicken being cooked. That smell made him so hungry. But he remembered he had to focus on finding the treasure. When he turned his head to one side he saw Indians with trained jaguars and pumas. These animals looked so friendly. Keating noticed he was sitting in a teepee. He thought maybe the Indians had put him there when he had fallen unconscious. Keating grabbed the flap of the teepee and pulled it aside. That’s when he noticed a city of gold! Keating stepped out of the teepee and the Indians started shooting arrows at him. He was curious why the Indians would be shooting at him when he thought they liked him. This was all so sudden.

He ran into a golden temple. There he saw a knight. This knight had black armor. The knight was announcing to the Indians that the people coming to the city were not to be trusted, especially the man that was put into the teepee. So now Keating knew the truth. That’s when the knight looked at the entrance and spotted Keating trying to run for the exit. The knight threw his sword and knocked down the entrance support. The entrance collapsed trapping Keating inside. Thousand of bats started to fly and exited above Keating through a small hole with a ladder next to it. The knight approached Keating and challenged him. This could be the end for the knight or Keating.

Keating spotted an Indian making a sword with an anvil. Keating ran toward the Indian and grabbed the sword. The Indian was scared and dove away. Now both Keating and the black knight had a good weapon. They charged at each other. Keating felt worried he might not make it out alive. When their swords clashed, the knight’s sword went flying out of his hand by Keating’s tremendous force of his power with the sword. Then the knight went running but did not notice where he was running towards. The knight fell into a river and the powerful current pulled him away. Keating noticed that the knight had held onto a big sea turtle and he would not drown.

Keating then went to the ladder he had seen the bats exit over. Keating decided to climb the ladder. When he reached the top he noticed that the forest was beautiful with orchids all around the top of the trees. He was so happy that he kissed the ground. By this time the sun was up, he could see the macaws, the parrots and amazing butterflies. He was so excited to see such beauty. When he started to calm down he felt so tired and decided to go to sleep on a bed of leaves and listening to the singing of the birds.

Through his adventure he had noticed that Costa Rica was more interesting for in forest and its people than finding the famous treasure. After this he devoted the rest of his life to help Costa Rican people. Well that’s’ Keating’s story.


Melanie Rose HamptonMelanie Rose Hampton
Age 9
Grade 4
Tuscon, AZ



My Adventure to the Rainforest in Our Motor Home
Melanie Rose Hampton

One day I was in my family’s motor home. We were on our way to the Costa Rican forest. When I noticed beautiful trees all around. I was looking out my window of the motor home, when I saw the squirrel monkeys jumping in and out of the trees. One jumped on the motor home. I was so excited to see the monkeys playing tricks for me and my sister Audrey. The monkey had a banana in his hand showing it off. Next we were about to go out of the motor home. My mother told us not to go far away. Audrey and I were not paying any attention so we went exploring the grounds of the rainforest. Audrey called my name, "Melanie." I turned around and saw this horse looking animal behind me. It was so close that I could pet him. It was a capybara. At first I was scared but he did nothing. He just stood there looking at the plants. Then I said, "he looks like my guinea pig back home!" I heard mom calling me, so Audrey and I wander back to camp, hoping we are not lost.
Audrey and I see something moving behind a tree. It is orange and black. It looks like a little kitten. It jumps out in front of us. Its a baby jaguar lost from his mother. So Audrey and baby jaguar and I are lost in the Rainforest with no food or shelter. A sloth comes to our rescue with helping us find food in the trees.
We are following a stream to find our mother and the baby jaguar's mother. We come to this very large waterfall at the end of the Plananillo trail. It starts raining, the clouds are heavy and gray. We cant see the sun at all. It rains for hours and hours. We are hiding under a big, big leaf. While we are under the leaf, Audrey and I are watching the bugs we came across the leaf mimic katydid. This leaf mimic loves to spend its days with dead leaves. Audrey picks it up and looks at its legs and says, "Wow twigs for legs." Melanie looks interested in the bug.

We name the bug "Leafy." The rain has stopped. Audrey and Melanie keep on their journey to find the jaguar’s mother. We come across the humming birds. Audrey runs to look at them. There’s all those flowers called passion flowers surrounding the area on the ground. The humming bird flew away so quickly because the baby jaguar wanted to play with it.

While we are looking at the passion flowers, we are getting sleepy. We kinda fall asleep in the flowers. While laying there a park ranger finds us and picks us up. He takes us back to the Rava Avis Rainforest Reserve, we wake up to find out they took the baby jaguar away to go back with his mother. We started to cry because he was leaving us. The Ranger says he needs to be here because the jaguars are becoming extinct. The ranger says, “ I will give you a tour of the reserve.”

Audrey and I learned so much about the Rainforest and why it’s being protected from all people. We like to have oxygen and water for a lifetime. The Ranger explains why we can't hurt the environment, because each living thing depends on another thing. If we mess with it, it could die. The Park Ranger asks us where our mother is. We say we have been lost. “Can you help us?”

He says yes. “Costa Rica is very small. We will have a plane look for your motor home. Don’t worry little ones.” We found your mom now. Audrey and I are waiting for our mother to come with the motor home. In mean time the Ranger brings us a parrot to talk too. That was very fun. We were teaching it words like “peanut butter.” Audrey was having fun. The plane finds the motor home and picks up the motor home and carries it back to the Rainforest Reserve. Audrey and I are back with our mother. We are so excited too see her and tell her what happened to us.    

                                          THE END


Emily WeeksEmily Weeks
Age 9
Grade 4
Naples, FL


Swallowed in the Costa Rican Rain Forest
Emily Weeks

It was a very long trip from Massachusetts to the Costa Rica rainforest, where my Dad worked for a logging company. I was so excited to visit and help my Dad cut trees.

The first day I was in the rainforest, my Dad let me cut down some small trees. It was so cool to hear the cracking sound and the thump of the trees as they fell and landed on the ground. When the saws were quiet, I could hear the sounds of birds above and the waterfall in the distance. The rainforest was so beautiful, full of colorful flowers and plants, except for a very large area where trees had been cut down and hauled away. Just dirt remained on the ground. I watched more trees fall around me. My Dad yelled from a distance for me to get a larger saw from the work truck.

Heading back from the truck I noticed eyes staring at me from the branches. I was frightened, so I started to run carelessly through the rainforest. I just wanted to get back to my Dad, when suddenly I banged my head on a branch of a Wild Cashew tree, one of the tallest canopy trees in Costa Rica. Hours later, I awoke dazed and confused. I had shrunk. Was I dreaming? No I was lying In the exact spot where I had hit the tree branch.

Suddenly I heard the sound of leaves rustling. Then I saw what it was, a giant boa constrictor! (It wasn’t really that big, it was just small.) I ran as fast as I could but I was no match for the snake. It swallowed me whole. Inside was dark, but fortunately I had my flashlight in my pocket. Inside the snake I saw a sofa, pencil and a notebook.

Suddenly something hit the snake. I shot out of the snake’s mouth and landed on the ground in front of a poison dart frog. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do with me. The frog was very kind. He took me to a small frog village high in the trees. He told me that he wanted to teach me about the rainforest so I could teach my Dad and others about how humans are destroying a very important natural resource.

The frogs explained why the rainforest is so important to the whole word, not just to the plant, animals and people who live there. They explained that the rainforest provides homes for many plants and animals, helps stabilize the world’s climate; protects against flood, drought, and erosion; is a source of medicines and food; and supports tribal people.

The king frog hopped to the front and explained that the rainforests are being destroyed by humans like my Dad for timber, making fires, farms, grazing cattle and road construction. My animal friends such as Wooly Monkey, Dusky Titi Monkey, Ebony Langur, Golden Lion Tamarin, lemurs, Long-Tailed Macaque, Squirrel Monkey, Probiscus Monkey, Wied’s Tufted-eared Marmoset, jaguar, ocelot, agouti, wild boar and sloth all said I could save the rainforest by planting trees where forests used to be, encouraging people to live in a way that does not hurt the environment and establishing National Parks. I learned a lot from the king frog and my other animal friends.

One day I was running from another frog when I banged my head against a root and knocked myself out. When I woke up I was a normal sized human. I told my Dad what I learned from the animals, and we went home. Now my Dad has a new job preserving National Parks.



back to top

Previous Contests

Travel Writing Contest Winners and Their Stories!


back to top