The Forest

The Forest

4.0 1
by Nivola, Claire A. Nivola
     
 

Courage takes a mouse on a wonderful journey

I had always been afraid of the forest, that dark and unknown
place at the farthest edge of my little world. At night I often dreamed of it and woke chilled with fear. The fear was there in the day, too, hidden inside me no matter what I did or where I went. One night the fear pressed so

…  See more details below

Overview

Courage takes a mouse on a wonderful journey

I had always been afraid of the forest, that dark and unknown
place at the farthest edge of my little world. At night I often dreamed of it and woke chilled with fear. The fear was there in the day, too, hidden inside me no matter what I did or where I went. One night the fear pressed so heavily on me that I could bear it no longer.

So begins a journey of discovery for a brave little mouse who decides he must leave the safety of home to explore the forest. The world he finds is not at all what he expected.

With luminous illustrations and graceful prose, The Forest broadens the reader’s world, speaking eloquently and reassuringly to every child who has ever felt afraid of the unknown.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"I had always been afraid of the forest, that dark and unknown place at the farthest edge of my little world," begins Nivola's (Elisabeth) tale of a mouse who faces down his fear. The opening image, framed in a border of white, shows a charming town of red-tiled stucco houses in a valley under blue skies; a long, winding road connects the town to an expanse of trees at the top of the picture. The author underscores the seductive pull of the forest with emotionally sophisticated description: "At night I often dreamed of it and woke chilled with fear.... One night the fear pressed so heavily on me that I could bear it no longer." The next morning, the mouse takes a last look at his cozy abode smooth-lined, awash in warm colors and safely nestled in the tidy village before setting out. Horizontal framed images of the fellow moving farther from his home, the skies growing overcast, parallel the mouse's internal journey. Nivola's forest scenes are pointillistic, creating an overwhelming world of copious foliage. Dwarfed by the enormous trees and frightened by a moving shadow, the hero panics, trips and falls to the forest floor. But he opens his eyes to discover a soft bed of moss, a butterfly ("like a guardian angel") and sunlight "raining down through the leaves and warming my back." The mouse's bravery in tackling the unknown is heroic and will likely inspire other small heroes to conquer forests of their own. Ages 3-6. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Nivola, a Massachusetts author and artist of the charming illustrations for Elizabeth Spires' The Mouse of Amherst, brings to very young readers a simple and gentle tale of peace and reassurance. Inspired by Tolstoy's Prince Andrei, she traces a little mouse's journey from home into the world and finally to the frightening entrance of the unknown forest nearby. In spite of his fears, the mouse enters, listens, looks and, becoming alarmed, drops to the ground in desperation. He falls asleep and, waking, experiences the immenseness and beauty of the trees and the sky. Vastly comforted, he is able to walk the long way home again. That's all, but the gentle rhythms of the prose and the delicate, detailed illustrations of the mouse's world offer a parent and child the opportunity to explore each picture and to feel something of the peace and comfort experienced by the little creature. A three-year-old who was drawn to the book seemed to partake of the mouse's sense of wonder and calmness in the presence of the forest and its inhabitants. This is a book best shared in a quiet moment with plenty of time and closeness to appreciate the lovely detail and to absorb the quiet reassurance of the ending. 2002, Frances Foster/Farrar Straus, Talcroft
School Library Journal
K Up-A little mouse lives safely and comfortably in his cozy house in his familiar village, but he is haunted by his fear of the forest-"that dark and unknown place at the farthest edge of my little world." One day, realizing that this fear has become so intense that he has no choice but to confront it, he leaves hearth and home and enters the forest. Frightened by a shadow, he runs, trips and falls, and lies still on the ground hoping to avoid discovery. As he lies there, he slowly becomes aware of the beauty and sweetness surrounding him-moss as soft as feathers, sunlight raining down, a butterfly hovering nearby "like a guardian angel." When he turns over and looks up, he realizes that "The sky was bigger than the forest, bigger even than my fear had been, bigger than everything." He is finally able to begin his journey home with "the sweet murmuring world of the forest filling me." Nivola has produced a true gem. The writing is poetic, graceful, and remarkably evocative, accessible to young children yet appealing to sophisticated readers. The theme of reluctance coupled with the imperative to go "there and back again" is universal, making this truly a book for all ages. Nivola's gently colored pointillistic illustrations blend the imaginary into an otherwise realistic natural world. This is a piece of picture-book perfection that most libraries will want to own.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Though the symbolism and level of self-awareness in this brief metaphorical journey will speak more to an adult audience, any reader who has felt fear of the unknown will identify with its solitary narrator. Aptly portrayed as a mouse-and usually seen from a distance, to seem even smaller-the speaker is finally driven by the pressure of long-standing fear to leave familiar home and streets for a dark, mysterious patch of woods. From outside, the forest is dark indeed, but not far past its border is a lovely glade, stippled in Nivola's (The Friday Nights of Nana, 2001, etc.) high-angled paintings with light and wildflowers. Frightened by a shadow, the mouse trips and falls, drifts off to sleep, and by the time it wakes to see a butterfly "like a guardian angel," and a sky "bigger than the forest, bigger even than my fear had been," that fear has dissipated. The mouse's courage, as well as the handsome art, have their appeal, but timorous children will find anxiety more believably overcome in such tales as Ellen Stoll Walsh's Pip's Magic (1994) or James Stevenson's What's Under My Bed? (1983). (Picture book. 10+)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374324520
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
05/28/2002
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.62(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Claire A. Nivola is the author and illustrator of Elisabeth. She lives in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >