A young girl discovers the magic of the forest in this captivating debut series by Charles Bruckerhoff. Adelyn, an adventurous girl staying with her grandparents in the country, wants nothing more than to explore the world–and one bright morning she sets off to do just that, armed with only her grandfather’s old wicker basket and a charming polka-dotted hat. As she skips into the nearby forest, Adelyn crosses paths with the native animals, who all take a moment to share with her what makes them so unique. Intrigued by the natural world around her, Adelyn takes the friendly advice of a crow she meets, to “see more, do more, know more,” and ventures deeper into the woods to explore.
Young readers will be charmed by the engaging animals in this tale, and their sage wisdom will ring true for adults as well. A hawk explains that, despite its fearsome appearance, it’s actually “gentle and quiet,” and a small fawn shares how its mother warns it of danger by stomping on the ground– while pointing out to Adelyn that all the wild animals she sees share a collective home. The animals are keen to emphasize their differences from Adelyn, too, as a New England cottontail explains how lucky humans are to have the freedom to choose how to live our daily lives, instead of relying mainly on instinct to survive.
Bruckerhoff swathes the educational text with stunning watercolor images that reflect the beauty in Adelyn’s surroundings, and the peaceful charm of the forest follows Adelyn home when she leaves and realizes “something magical happened back there.” Using the keepsakes she gathered in her basket during her walk, she excitedly describes what she learned about the forest to her grandparents, who in turn help her research more detailed information about the area. This is a vibrant story that will appeal to readers invested in nature.
Takeaway: A young girl learns about the animals residing in the forest near her home in this striking tale.
Great for fans of: Jen Green’s The Magic & Mystery of Trees, Helen Peters’s An Otter Called Pebble; Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+