Reviews for Children of the forest

School Library Journal
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Toddler-PreS–A boy revels in being a creature of the wild, living off the land and teaching his little sister the ways of survival. His narration leans into a sense of rugged isolationism: "What will become of us? No one knows. All we know is that Mother Nature will take care of us." Meanwhile the illustrations slowly reveal the setting to be the children's own backyard, and the day ends with the sister abandoning their tent for a hug from their mother and a cozy bed. The combination of spare text with lush illustrations will engage very young children, while the disconnect between the boy's narration and the reality portrayed in the illustrations will intrigue and amuse older kids. The stubborn seriousness of the protagonist at maintaining his illusion, extending to calling his mother a "scavenger woman," creates the slowly building humor of the book. Lush watercolor illustrations, full of greens and browns, evoke the wilderness of nature and a child's imagination. Some children may be worried by a passage in which a "wild beast" (the family dog) is seemingly felled by one of the boy's arrows, after which he says: "We will feast tonight, Sister. The drumstick is the best part." The dog is pictured happily panting next to the playing children on the subsequent page. VERDICT Celebrating the power of a child's imagination and outdoor exploratory play, this book is particularly well suited to a read aloud and group discussion.—Elizabeth Lovsin


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

For a boy and his little sister, the backyard becomes a place rife with opportunity for adventure. With his bow and arrows in hand, the mop-headed boy guides Sister on a journey of exploration and discovery. They investigate a “pioneer cabin” (their house’s porch), entering “silent, like the wind,” to avoid waking its occupant (Dad napping in a hammock). They perform an intrepid supply raid (from the pantry), and they even encounter a “puma” and a “wild beast”—the family’s cat and dog. At sundown, they assemble and settle into their tent, till startled by a visitor—Mom—whom Sister eagerly follows inside. And though the boy’s not quite ready to go home, perhaps their cozy bunk bed is just what he needs. The boy’s descriptive narrative, told with survivalist flair, is amusingly set against the siblings' actual experiences, depicted in lush watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which also cleverly convey how nature can inspire imaginations. This affectionate portrayal of a brother-sister relationship also charmingly demonstrates how familiar settings and objects can—with a little creativity—make for big adventures. A strong pick for bedtime reading.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Your imagination can take you anywhere. Two light-skinned siblings spend the day outdoors imagining they are living wild in the forest. Though the text, narrated in first person by the older sibling, relates daring escapades, the artwork depicts the kids in their own backyard. The older child teaches the little one survival skills, and the two come upon a puma (actually a house cat) and must run away, leaving their food behind. The children follow the footprints of “a wild beast,” and soon it’s time for a showdown—“It is either us or him.” The siblings conquer the beast (the family dog), and the narrator informs readers that they will eat well tonight. Next it is time to set up the tent and a warning system in case of more wild creatures. The alarm goes off! But it’s just their mom with water bottles, and soon it’s time for bed—back in the safety of the children’s bedroom. The pencil and watercolor illustrations use a combination of saturated and light colors; scenes depicting big moments fill the page dramatically, and readers will feel immersed in this verdant, idyllic world. The contrast between text and images is clever, and the relationship between the protective older sibling and the younger one is delightful. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A short and sweet adventure. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Two pale-skinned siblings confront outdoor life with unusual bravery in a sly backyard adventure. Invoking the vibe of classic children’s book protagonists, the narrator wears a green hoodie and totes a bow and a quiver full of arrows; the other, Sister, sports a red knit cap. Despite a solemn spread that shows the narrator gazing at the outdoors (“What will become of us?...All we know is that Mother Nature will take care of us”), the scheme is quickly revealed as make-believe, and very, very close to home. On second glance, the quiver might be an old oatmeal box; Sister stomps in mud puddles and chews on tent poles. Myers (Dino-Gro) makes the most of the contrast between the narrator’s dramatic voice-over and spreads that show what’s really happening as the children sneak into their house for sustenance (“We are silent, like the wind”), stand up to a puma (their cat), and wrestle a wild beast (the family’s St. Bernard). Pencil and watercolor illustrations offer high-energy encounters, while fantastical shrub-creatures that lurk in the background contribute to the fantasy feel. Myers writes with sharp wit, making exemplary use of the picture book format by employing tension between what readers hear and what they’re shown. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)

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