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INTO THE FOREST by Anthony Browne


by Anthony Browne & illustrated by Anthony Browne

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7636-2511-6
Publisher: Candlewick

A little boy’s anxieties over his absent father channel themselves into a deeply metaphorical journey through a fairy-tale forest to Grandma’s. A one-legged toy soldier in the opening panel hints at a military absence, although the reason for the father’s disappearance is never articulated. The story moves from the concrete to the symbolic when he’s sent to Grandma’s with a cake. Into a tangled black-and-white forest he ventures, against his mother’s admonition. On his way, he meets a boy selling a cow, a hungry yellow-haired girl, and two lost children; in addition to the obvious fairy-tale references, Browne sprinkles other elements—a key, a spinning wheel, a tower—into the surreal, terrifyingly twisted landscape. When the boy gets to Grandma’s, he finds both Grandma and Dad, a happy but supremely illogical reunion entirely consistent with a very small child’s direct desire for solutions, not explanations. The literary allusions, however, require an older audience—one that may well not be satisfied with the easy ending. Not as whole, perhaps, as Outside Over There, but a fine, unsettling evocation of emotion nevertheless. (Picture book. 5-8)