THE FOREST by Claire A. Nivola


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Age Range: 10 & up
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Though the symbolism and level of self-awareness in this brief metaphorical journey will speak more to an adult audience, any reader who has felt fear of the unknown will identify with its solitary narrator. Aptly portrayed as a mouse—and usually seen from a distance, to seem even smaller—the speaker is finally driven by the pressure of long-standing fear to leave familiar home and streets for a dark, mysterious patch of woods. From outside, the forest is dark indeed, but not far past its border is a lovely glade, stippled in Nivola’s (The Friday Nights of Nana, 2001, etc.) high-angled paintings with light and wildflowers. Frightened by a shadow, the mouse trips and falls, drifts off to sleep, and by the time it wakes to see a butterfly “like a guardian angel,” and a sky “bigger than the forest, bigger even than my fear had been,” that fear has dissipated. The mouse’s courage, as well as the handsome art, have their appeal, but timorous children will find anxiety more believably overcome in such tales as Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Pip’s Magic (1994) or James Stevenson’s What’s Under My Bed? (1983). (Picture book. 10+)

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-32452-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2002


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