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FOREST DREAM by Ayano Imai


by Ayano Imai ; illustrated by Ayano Imai

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-988-8341-64-1
Publisher: minedition

A child follows a rabbit and discovers a wooded wonderland.

The opening illustration doesn’t depict the rabbit, but the first-person narrator describes it, saying he is “carrying a sack in his mouth.” The narrator follows the rabbit to “a bare, forgotten patch of land.” Other rabbits appear with their own sacks, from which they take acorns that they bury in the ground. The exquisite watercolors are evocative of Lisbeth Zwerger’s work, though with a naturalist’s attention to detail that also brings to mind Nancy Eckholm Burkert’s style in spreads showing songbirds, squirrels, a moon bear, and then various insects all bringing seeds to the barren land. These gorgeous pictures outshine the labored text, which seems to take a fantastic turn when the narrator falls asleep and awakens to see that a forest has grown up all around. Stunning, wordless spreads follow, depicting fish swimming through the air, the moon bear delicately holding a fork to spear an acorn, and other fantastic sights. A voice from the forest tells the child: “This is how the forest could be in a hundred years.” It turns out that the child’s vision of the forest was a dream, after all; upon truly awaking, the child resolves to make that dream-vision a reality and plants acorns in the ground. The child presents East Asian.

Beautiful—but imbalanced.

(Picture book. 4-8)