Readers who are “feeling gray” are encouraged to come into the forest.
A rose-cheeked child in green, leaf-patterned clothes and bare feet calls herself “the little girl of the forest,” welcoming those who enter her domain. In succession, a man, woman, and boy walk through the forest, all troubled in their own ways. The girl invites each one “to bathe in the forest,” and each finds relief in the embrace of nature. It’s unclear exactly what a forest “bath” entails until the end of the narrative, when the little girl encourages readers to relax and open their senses to the natural healing experience found in wooded areas. Whether the girl is a forest sprite or human is unclear, though her efforts to share her passion for natural spaces are equally valid with either interpretation. Uyá paints a fanciful atmosphere with organic shapes and selective background details. The visitors, all family members, are rendered all in gray shades until they accept the young girl’s invitation, then they burst into color. (Their surnames differ slightly: either Grayshadow or Greystone; this inconsistency will plague some young listeners.) The art’s various green hues and pops of color must compete with the stark white backgrounds, which do overpower at times. Appended is a link to a downloadable booklet with activities “to immerse yourself in nature,” such as doing texture rubbings or following a wandering insect.
Ultimately insubstantial, though its heart’s in the right place. (Picture book. 4-8)