cover image Into the Deep Forest: With Henry David Thoreau

Into the Deep Forest: With Henry David Thoreau

Jim Murphy. Clarion Books, $14.95 (39pp) ISBN 978-0-395-60522-6

Presented as an account of one of Thoreau's three treks into Maine's wilderness, this is a thoroughly shuffled amalgamation of the philosopher/naturalist's quotes held in place by Murphy's fiction. Despite its mongrelization, the text is eminently approachable and generally faithful to Thoreau's spirit. The third-person narrative conveys Thoreau's fascination with nature: ""Despite being lost in a mucky swamp, Henry still makes notes""-about round leafed orchids, dwarf raspberries, a red squirrel. And Thoreau's own words express the individualist's discomfort with society: ""We live thick and are in each other's way."" But sometimes Murphy's (The Boys' War) genteel text smothers his subject's accurate record of the wild. For instance, where Thoreau's moose are shot and killed, Murphy's ""turn and bound into the cover of the trees."" Debut artist Kiesler's serene, atmospheric oil paintings, simply framed by wide white borders, depict Maine's diverse inland landscapes: swamp barrens, misty lakes, rock-strewn streams, charred forests and stony mountain tops. An introductory essay doubles as a thumbnail biography. Ages 7-11. (Mar.)