The Fox and the Forest Fire by Danny Popovici (9781797202822)
A boy moves from the city to a new home in the forest. At first, the nights are too quiet and the mornings are too loud. He goes on hikes with his mother, but it takes him some time to discover that there is a lot to do in the forest. He starts studying the insects, building small rock dams for little fish, and also makes friends with a fox. The two of them spend their days living in parallel. Then one morning, there is a column of smoke on the horizon. The boy and his mother must leave their home and the animals flee in front of the burning forest. They all lose their homes in the blaze. Months later, everyone is safe and they begin to rebuild. The forest doesn’t look the same, but things are slowly returning, the forest healing itself.
Written by a volunteer firefighter, this picture book looks at the deep connectivity to home, particularly one where you experience nature and animals living around you. That first part of the book as the boy steadily grows to love his new home makes a strong foundation for the devastation that follows. Readers will worry about the fox and other animals who can’t leave in a car for safety. The story is moving and timely with the current wildfires.
The art really looks closely at nature and the forest habitat, filling the pages with verdant greens and lovely cool pools of water, flowers, fallen logs, and much more. Some of the pages are wordless, allowing readers to simply sink into the natural world along with the protagonist. The pages about the fire capture the eerie light of the blaze, filling the images with a sense of impending danger.
A look at connecting with nature and the resilience to start again. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.