cover image Forest


Janet Taylor Lisle, Janet Lisle-Taylor. Scholastic, $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06803-8

In the tradition of E. B. White and George Selden, the author of Afternoon of the Elves and The Lampfish of Twill spins a fanciful animal yarn that conveys universal aspects of human nature while tracing how misguided fears lead to war. The residents of Upper and Lower Forest have led parallel, relatively peaceful lives until a 12-year-old human, Amber Padgett, unknowingly trespasses on squirrel territory when building a hide-out in a tree. As the ``mink-tails'' congregate to discuss the threat of invasion, Amber's father launches an untimely ``search-and-destroy'' mission against the squirrels. Caught in the middle of this territorial battle are Amber, her younger brother Wendell (both of whose sympathies lie with the squirrels) and two young mink-tails they have befriended. Lisle's mink-tails are as well developed as her human characters; the common frailties, vulnerabilities and strengths of the two dissimilar societies are effectively conveyed. This expertly crafted promotion of open-mindedness and tolerance is sure to hold its audience's attention. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)