Saturday, April 23, 2022

Once Upon a Forest written and illustrated by Pam Fong

Once Upon a Forest
written and illustrated by Pam Fong
Random House Studio, 2022, 40 pages
Forest fires are really scary and they seem to be happening with more and more frequency. Here is a wordless picture book that shows readers something they can do after a forest fire happens. It all begins when a little marmot, out watering his garden with his bird bestie, smells smoke in the distance. Leaving his home, the marmot goes exploring to find out where the smoke is coming from and discovers it is a forest fire.
After the fire is put out, the marmot loads up his wagon with gardening tools, and some of his own young saplings and heads into the forest with his bird friend. Saddened by the charred remains of trees and devastation he finds, the marmot quickly gets to work pulling the dead trees up, 
then clearing and raking the land to prepare it for new plants. As you can see, it doesn't take long for the soot from the fire to get all over the marmot. Pulling, raking and digging are hard work, but the two manage to finally plant some saplings, then pitch a tent to keep an eye out on things..  
They are there for the long haul and it's a good thing they are. As the saplings begin to take root and grow, they need water, protection from autumn wind, and later from winter's snow, and in spring, from hungry animals looking for some nice leafy greens.

But the trees grow and grown. Once they are strong and sturdy, the marmot and his bird friend return to their home, but just they are unpacking, it happens again - the smell of smoke is once more in the air. It looks like the help of our little environmental friends will once again be needed.

This is a charming story that shows young readers that they can do something to help an environment that has been laid waste through forest fires or any natural disasters. They can easily begin by planting a new tree at home in a small container for later replanting in a forest. But more than that, kids learn that they can participate in taking care of the nature world which is so important for it to thrive, especially if we want to enjoy it for years to come.  

Pam Fong has managed to convey all of that to us without writing a word, and instead by using detailed, grayscale illustrations that reflect the marmots thoughts and feelings, and by using a few color exceptions where they make all the difference, highlighting the green of the saplings, the blue of the stream where water for the plants is gotten and the marmot can wash away the soot that gets on his fur, and a golden cast as the day's work is done and the sun is setting. 

This is a perfect book to add to your Earth Day collection, and it is ideal for sharing as we enter another fire season with the coming summer months. There is much here for discussion and for generating ideas for caring for the earth.

Thanks you Barbara Fisch at Blue Slip Media for providing me with a copy of this book.

1 comment:

  1. Cute book for the kid . Just with these pictures it also comes with big meaning. More for Booklooker


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