cover image The Forest Has Eyes

The Forest Has Eyes

Bev Doolittle. Greenwich Workshop Press, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-86713-055-3

A range of Doolittle's Native American art prints is here presented in a kind of exhibition accessible to young readers. In her strongest landscapes, the artist introduces hidden spirits that readers can decipher as a kind of puzzle. For instance, a lone rider travels by horseback over a stream where rocks and tree branches subtly outline the faces of Native American elders. In other landscapes, the connections are more obvious, as in a painting of Snow Eagle Pass, where glacial snow reflected in water creates an eagle's wingspread. Several take on a ""pop art"" quality, with well-defined portraits surrounded by hazy animal spirits of a buffalo or grizzly bear. Using yet another, more sophisticated style for a pair of paintings perhaps most appropriate for adults, Doolittle creates a hyperrealistic atmosphere with a clarity of line, stark palette and flood of light that suggests an enigma (e.g., hidden in a thicket, a hunter wearing a bearskin stares out at viewers as a grouse appears to fly off the page). The text serves as a way into the paintings, inviting both readers' imagination and their further contemplation: ""Can you see the faces in the forest watching you?"" and ""When you sit quietly, where do your thoughts go?"" Doolittle's images, coupled with McClay's heightened prose, will stir readers' thoughts concerning both the natural world around them and the spirits of those who walked before them. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)