cover image Into the Jungle

Into the Jungle

Judy Hindley. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-423-7

This quietly suspenseful picture book takes young readers on an enlightening jungle safari. Two children are cautioned about going into the jungle: ``Go carefully. / Walk softly.'' The narrator continues to provide hints for a safe journey (``Don't look behind you''; ``Sneak quietly beneath the vines''). The curious kids tentatively wend their way through the green, imagining--but never really seeing--the beasts that the narrator suggests could be lurking. They emerge triumphant, having completed more than one kind of trip. Hindley's ( A Piece of String Is a Wonderful Thing ) unfettered text is marked by strong rhythms and fine pacing, shrouding the seemingly slight tale in mystery. Epp's depictions of a peaceful animal community, meanwhile, should allay any fears conjured up by the text. The oil-and-gesso paintings of her debut book have an almost pencil/scratchboard effect. The artist's childlike figures perfectly match the naive mood of the protagonists, and her palette of myriad greens shows inventive variety. Young adventurers will enjoy pointing out animals, some hidden in the trees, and will no doubt find new discoveries on repeat outings. Ages 3-up. (Aug.)