Performer and poet O'Garden's jubilant dialogue between sweet-natured children and a personified forest offers an apt blend of lush imagery and bare-bones kid-ness, set to a read-aloud rhythm.
On the book's final page, O'Garden's author's note explains how the idea for the book blossomed in Garrison, N.Y. "Gowned as Mother Nature, I asked each child to tell me how the forest might answer the question: Forest, what would you like? From their four hundred responses, to which I added answers of my own, I distilled a ten-page poem," melding the voices of the children with her own. The effect is a seamless grassy green ribbon of fun with flora and fauna. "Forest, what would you like? / I would like friendship, fruit, song, / and all the spicy smells of Fall: / acorns, seeds, and crispy needles. / I would like my leaves to turn different colors / and a whole bunch of birds to fly through me." Schories expertly captures the conversation between children and nature. She sets the forest scenes in large, full-bleed panels that occupy whole pages or most of a spread, representing the children’s voices with a multiethnic group of tots who populate the white space. A green-clad, elfin child personifies the forest, romping in the trees or sitting contemplatively by a wintry river.
It is poetry set to the life cycle of nature—through the words of children. (Picture book. 3-7)