Two siblings set off for adventure in the untamed wilds... of their own backyard.
Pairing a serious text with charming illustrations that show the mundane truth of the kids' adventurous roaming, Children of the Forest is an ode to imaginative play and the wild fun you can have while staying close to home.
We are wild.
We are children of the forest.
We were raised by wolves.
Grabbing a bow and quiver, a kid sets off, toddler sister in tow, to live off the land-- in the expanses of their own backyard. First, they sneak past their snoozing father to pilfer supplies from the refrigerator, but only what they need. After that, they’re utterly on their own.
Out in these uncharted spaces they encounter many dangers, from a ferocious mountain lion (a house cat) to a hulking canine beast (their dog). When the sun dips low, they make a camp complete with defenses to ward off predators.
Matt Myers’s cool self-serious text is juxtaposed with whimsical art depicting the playful antics of backyard life, making for a tale full of delight for imaginative children.
Matt Myers is the author and illustrator of Hum and Swish and the illustrator of many books for children, including Battle Bunny, A Dog Named Doug, and The Infamous Ratsos series, which won a Geisel Honor. When he's not painting or writing, he likes to build things, dig in the dirt, and hang out with his chickens. Matt lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Maya, also a Holiday House author.
"There is an enjoyable tension between text and images, where what we are told is at odds with what we see. Older children will revel in being in on the joke. . . . Myers's soft, nostalgic pencil-and-watercolor drawings in muted greens and mauves include details meant for grown-ups (the dozing dad is reading Thoreau), but there is plenty for kids to discover, too, as they plot their own backyard adventures."—The New York Times
"[A] puckish escapade. . . ."—The Wall Street Journal
"A sly backyard adventure. . . . Pencil and watercolor illustrations offer high-energy encounters, while fantastical shrub-creatures that lurk in the background contribute to the fantasy feel. Myers writes with sharp wit, making exemplary use of the picture book format by employing tension between what readers hear and what they’re shown."—Publishers Weekly
"Though the illustrations make clear that the duo is exploring their own backyard, the text stays true to the narrator’s sharply etched imagination. . . . An ode to the natural world—and the abundant imagination of children."—The Horn Book
"The contrast between text and images is clever, and the relationship between the protective older sibling and the younger one is delightful. A short and sweet adventure."—Kirkus Reviews
"The boy’s descriptive narrative, told with survivalist flair, is amusingly set against the siblings' actual experiences, depicted in lush watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which also cleverly convey how nature can inspire imaginations. This affectionate portrayal of a brother-sister relationship also charmingly demonstrates how familiar settings and objects can—with a little creativity—make for big adventures. A strong pick for bedtime reading."—Booklist
"The combination of spare text with lush illustrations will engage very young children, while the disconnect between the boy’s narration and the reality portrayed in the illustrations will intrigue and amuse older kids. . . . Celebrating the power of a child’s imagination and outdoor exploratory play, this book is particularly well suited to a read aloud and group discussion."—School Library Journal