Hunters of the Great Forest

Dennis Nolan. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-896-5
In another enchanting wordless fantasy from Nolan (Sea of Dreams), seven tiny, gnomish beings set off from a fairy tale village on an expedition. A gray-haired grandmother wields a spear, a girl carries a map, and bearded and mustachioed fellows trudge along with more gear. Their stringy legs and puzzled expressions draw smiles throughout, especially when something startles them. Nolan’s visual storytelling is in a league with Aaron Becker and David Weisner, and a series of breathtakingly drafted and delicately tinted spreads shows the group clambering over stones and roots, and narrowly escaping a giant toad and a terrifying chipmunk. By nightfall they’ve reached their goal: a girl roasting a marshmallow next to a campfire. Nolan draws the hunters hanging back in the long shadows of the firelight, pointing at the girl and strategizing. They manage to spirit a marshmallow (many times their size) back to their village, and the bonfire celebration that follows is crammed with incident, with a sly twist at the very end. It’s merry, timeless entertainment that children will return to with pleasure. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014
Release date: 10/28/2014
Genre: Children's
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