If You Go Down to the Woods Today by Rachel Piercey

Cover image for If You Go Down to the Woods Today.

If You Go Down to the Woods Today by Rachel Piercey, illustrated by Freya Hartas (9781419751585)

Enter a woodsy world full of animal characters in this picture book that invites children to find things in the busy and bustling images. Bear brings readers to his home in the woods. The first images focus on spring in the woods with green grass, flowers and bird nests. Readers then get a glimpse of each animal’s home in the woods, including burrows, nests, and trees. Youngsters head to school, and bunny celebrates a birthday underground. Summer arrives with Field Day, the beauty of life in the treetops, swimming, picnics and even a play. Autumn comes with rainy days, art and campfires. Then finally, winter brings icy sports, a winter feast and the sleepiness of hibernation.

Each of the double-page illustrations is accompanied with a poem that speaks to that season and what is happening on the pages. The rhymes are jaunty and add to the fun of the book. Then there is a list of items to spot that asks readers to look very closely at the illustrations before them. It’s a woodsy and outdoor version of Waldo.

The illustrations are a pure joy and full of small elements of charm. Flowers, grass, falling leaves, roots, berries and more fill the pages with the season. The busy illustrations show a community of creatures happily living together in the woods filled with a warm coziness and acceptance of one another.

A perfect book to curl up with and explore. This would make an ideal book to take on a summer road trip. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy provided by Magic Cat.

Review: Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase

oliver's tree

Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase

Oliver, Charlie and Lulu are three best friends who love to play together outside.  When they play hide-and-seek though, Oliver doesn’t have as much fun as the others.  Lulu is a bird who loves to hide in the trees and Charlie the rabbit does too.  But Oliver is an elephant, and he doesn’t like trees at all, since he can’t climb them.  So the three friends set out to find a tree that will work for Oliver.  The low trees are too small for him.  Trees with big branches are too tall.  When they finally find a big low branch, Oliver is thrilled.  But then the branch breaks.  Oliver has had enough and runs off to be on his own.  He settles down on a huge tree stump and dozes off.  That’s when his friends have one great idea that saves the day and creates a tree that even an elephant can love!

Chase sets a pitch-perfect tone here for young children.  It’s a pleasure to see three children playing together in a picture book that is not about jealousy.  This instead is a book that celebrates differences and has children who work together to solve a problem in a creative way.  The result is a jolly book that has a fast pace and a cheery personality.

Chase’s illustrations have the same bounce as the text of the book.  They have a friendly quality that children will immediately respond to as well as a sweet humor that is cheerful.

It’s perfect tree climbing season right now, even if you are an elephant!  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Putnam.