FOREST by Janet Taylor Lisle


Age Range: 9 - 13
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 From a Newbery Honor winner, the chronicle of a narrowly averted war between a society of usually peaceable squirrels and the humans who live nearby. Normally oblivious to each other, the two intersect when Amber, a spirited 12-year-old who's run away because her father smacked her for being upset at TV violence, takes refuge in a tree. She's fascinated by the squirrels' evident intelligence and chittering language; the squirrel Woodbine returns her interest, but others panic at the sight of the alien ``invader'' and flock to evict her. Noticing the uproar, Amber's pugnacious dad fires into it; horrified that he's almost shot his daughter, he urges neighbors to help exterminate the ``mangy little pests.'' Meanwhile, the squirrels' elders are supplanted by a militaristic demagogue who vows to destroy the menacing humans; only Woodbine and two friends, plus Amber and her brother, imagine that the other species may be worth preserving. In separate, overlapping adventures told in alternating chapters, each brings their side back to sanity just as the conflict is escalating; and Woodbine and Amber-- unbeknownst to each other--resolve to learn more about their different species. The message is delivered more directly than in The Lampfish of Twill, while the beautifully crafted language is less lyrical, more humorous here. A deftly plotted fantasy with amusingly characterizations; a telling allegory of the roots of violence in ignorance. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-06803-X
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993


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