cover image THE TIN FOREST


Helen Ward, , illus. by Wayne Anderson. . Dutton, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46787-8

Exquisitely detailed illustrations endow this touching tale with pathos and grace. Living alone in the midst of environmental devastation, an old man refuses to resign himself to the junkyard views that surround him. "Every day he tried to clear away the garbage, sifting and sorting, burning and burying. And every night the old man dreamed." With his bald pate, white whiskers, spectacles and tattered work clothes, the old man is a grandfatherly figure whose human warmth (represented by the tinge of color on his flesh and clothes) puts him in stark contrast to the bleak world he inhabits. Anderson's portrayal of the desolate landscape, for all its metallic grayness, possesses a jarring, unexpected beauty, which grows under the diligent care of the story's hero. Tin flowers—leaves bolted on stems with screws—begin to glow under the old man's attention, while tin toucans, salamanders and tigers wait expectantly for the warmth to spread to them. This fantasy conveys a message all the more inspiring for its understatement: one individual who dares to dream can make a world of difference. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)