cover image The Magic Wood: A Poem

The Magic Wood: A Poem

Henry Treece. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020802-8

With its macabre images of the slithering, rustling creatures of the forest, this ghost-poem begs to be read aloud--in a slow, menacing voice. A four-line refrain, ``The wood is full of shining eyes, / The wood is full of creeping feet, / The wood is full of tiny cries: / You must not go to the wood at night!,'' syncopates the tale of the narrator's meeting with a ``man with eyes of glass / And a finger as curled as the wriggling worm,'' who becomes even more gruesome and less human as the text progresses. Moser heightens the intensity of Treece's verse (first published in 1945) with dramatic, black-over-blue illustrations in ink and watercolor. The resulting monochromatic effect--a striking departure from the artist's distinctive watercolor portraits--is pierced by multicolored sets of glowing eyes, peering out from the undergrowth. A spine-tingler that transcends the Halloween season--even though its creepiness may prove a bit frightening for those at the lower range of the intended audience. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)