In the Woods

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Some books bring out the “happy” in readers of all ages, and In the Woods, by Thereza Rowe, is one of them.

In the book, it is springtime in the woods and all the forest friends are preparing for Red the fox’s wedding. These friends include lions, penguins, birds and even a polar bear, and they are all on a mission to see to it that everyone is happy.

Unfortunately, Ollie the horse is not happy because all of his (or her) horse friends have been transformed into unicorns but he (or she) is still a horse. The forest friends improvise by making wings for Ollie from materials found in the woods, When Ollie is happy once again, everyone is ecstatic.

Other forest friends have surprise issues as the day of Red the fox’s wedding approaches. Lionel the lion has lost his mane, and even worse, someone steals the wedding cake that Red the fox spent all week on. The forest friends come to the rescue with some very creative solutions to make sure everyone stays happy.

Ms. Rowe’s prose is simple, sweet, and full of sparkle that keeps children smiling until the very end. The fact that penguins and unicorns are living in the forest along with the typical inhabitants may render the book a bit curious to adults, but young children should have no problem accepting these “fish out of water” friends as part of the story line.

Ms. Rowe’s childlike artwork is a splatter of bright, woodsy colors. There are red, yellow and green floral sprays, lush green grass, and all the other colors of spring. There are also multi-colored animal friends, like blue bunnies, green squirrels, and purple owls. Young readers should have a wonderful time identifying colors, naming animals, and counting all the exciting presents (and guessing their content) that Red the fox receives as wedding gifts.

Use this book to open discussions about friendships, helping others, team work, improvising, or simply finding ways to be happy. It can also be used to introduce various animals in the animal kingdom, or to play the “What belongs and what doesn’t?” game.

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