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THE HIDDEN FOREST by Jeannie Baker


by Jeannie Baker & illustrated by Jeannie Baker

Pub Date: March 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-15760-2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Vivid, inventive collages by author/artist Jeannie Baker make this picture book on the hidden underwater world of kelp forests a compelling addition to the ecology section of school and public libraries. For her collages, the author/artist used collected natural materials, (pressed seaweed, sand, and sponges) or translucent artist's clay to model kelp and resin to make seawater. These visually striking illustrations extend the story of Ben, a young boy who holds little regard for sea life. When his fish trap is tangled in the kelp, he enlists the help of his snorkeling friend, Sophie, to free it. Sophie takes Ben under the sea where he discovers the enchanted world of the kelp forest and its inhabitants. Small fish skitter near and a benign whale glides by, a gray shadow with barnacles and an enormous eye. Throughout, the kelp holds center stage against an intense blue sea. The lush and varied kelp shimmers, sways, and stretches in the tide. `When the kelp touches him, it feels like velvet swirling against his skin.` He returns to the surface of the sea with a greater appreciation of the sea and the life within it. As with other picture book ecology titles by Baker (The Story of Rosy Dock, 1995, etc.) this title captivates the viewer while celebrating the environment. Not to be missed. (Picture book. 59)