Books by Heather Forest

THE CONTEST BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE WIND by Heather Forest
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2008

Forest preserves the basic plot of this brief Aesopian chestnut, but recasts the language into typically buoyant, often-rhymed cadences that highlight the Wind's brutality and the Sun's gentleness. Likewise, in the sky over a fanciful landscape through which a lone man in modern dress treks, Gaber pairs off a soft but solid-looking orb sporting rainbow-colored eyes and a benevolent smile against a stormy spirit that is all fierce scowls and swirls of spattered paint. Dedicated "to Peace Makers everywhere," this fresh rendition will please young eyes and ears; consider it as an alternative to the older versions illustrated by Bernadette Watts (1992), Tomie DePaola (1995) or Bee Willey (2000). (Picture book/folktale. 6-10)Read full book review >
THE LITTLE RED HEN by Heather Forest
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Most rhyming retellings of traditional stories miss the mark and lose the original charm, but not in this case. Forest and Gaber's third collaboration bakes up a culinary concoction of cake (in place of bread) that is fresh, folksy and fun. Coincidentally, this is the second version published in 2006, the other one by Jerry Pinkney. As with all renditions, the animals vary. Gaber gives personality to the dog, a Corgi carrying a blue blanket, a black-and-white cat that plays with a string of yarn and a mouse who's always reading a book about mice in different languages. Her folk-art images cleverly use ovoid shapes as a motif throughout (portrait insets of the animals, for instance) and imaginatively depict how the hen carries out each step, e.g., she uses her beak to cut the wheat and to hold a wooden spoon to stir the batter. Forest's rhymes are a little more casual than Pinkney's. Refined or rustic? Libraries will want both. Who will help read and enjoy this story? Everyone. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)Read full book review >
FEATHERS by Heather Forest
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Drawn from her Wisdom Tales from Around the World (1996), this musical but sketchy rendition of an Eastern European tale—in which a Rabbi shows an insufficiently repentant gossip the error of her ways by instructing her to cut open his pillow and then gather back all its feathers—gets a confusing and amateurish set of illustrations from Cutchin. Not only will children have trouble tracking the gossip's accuser, who changes clothes between one scene and the next, they won't get much sense of verisimilitude from either the brightly colored festival dress in which some figures are clad, or the equally garishly hued feathers that spill from the Rabbi's pillow. Furthermore, though those figures' postures are expressive, their expressions tend to be exaggerated, and their faces and hands awkwardly modeled. Stick with Joan Rothenberg's more developed version, Yettele's Feathers (1995). (Picture book/folktale. 6-9)Read full book review >
WISDOM TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD by Heather Forest
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

As a companion to Wonder Tales from Around the World (1995, not reviewed), this is Forest's recasting of 50 fables, myths, anecdotes, and parables, all inviting readers to enjoy them as stories while picking out their barely concealed kernels of wisdom. Grouped by cultural or religious tradition, the selections comprise tales as familiar as ``The Three Wishes'' and the story of the Prodigal Son, and as unfamiliar as the legend, heard from a Yup'ik storyteller, of Apanugpak, a mighty warrior who laid down his weapons. Some are linked to historical events, and many have exotic settings, but Forest writes in such a simple, direct way that even readers not acquainted with the stories' contexts will grasp the particulars. She uses specific names or terms sparingly and livens the prose with occasional apt, clever rhymes. Two pages of proverbs (``the essence of wisdom tales without the storyline'') and a section of analytical and source notes close out this readable, often funny, and consistently thought-provoking collection. (notes, bibliography) (Folklore. 10+) Read full book review >