cover image What Forest Knows

What Forest Knows

George Ella Lyon, illus. by August Hall. S&S/Atheneum/Jackson, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-6775-0

This meditation on the natural world as a unified whole is distinguished by Lyon’s (Planes Fly!) graceful verse. Hall (Keeper) brings it to life with a wandering child and a big, bounding dog. In every spread, hints of the dog can be found, its tail or back legs disappearing down a new trail. Lyon’s images of winter are telegraphic: “icy branches/ frozen waterfall.” When spring comes, “soft life pushing through/ hard wood,” the dog disappears behind a tree. Scumbling and combing bring textures to the fore. Spring mist is followed by summer richness (“Forest knows growing,/ going forth”) and then by deepening fall (“Forest knows/ gathering in,/ letting go”). “Forest knows/ everything belongs,” concludes Lyon, as Hall gives readers their first close-up of the dog—it, too, is part of nature. “You, too,” Lyon adds, as the child throws a snowball for the dog to chase. Lyon’s words offer an antidote to the human-made, high-stimulation world, and a way for readers to understand that they belong, too. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator's agent: Allen Spiegel, Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. (Nov.)