In The Forest is by Anouk Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud. Story by Sophie Strady (Tate Publishing). Originally published in French.
I recently saw this book displayed on the shelves of the travelling children’s bookshop How Brave is the Wren which was set up in the mud of this year’s Just So Festival. Opening the pages, the intricate pop-up forest jumps out at the reader. Without even starting on the words, I knew I needed to buy this book.
The first page of the book displays the peaceful forest, teeming with life, with a sloth hiding in a tree, gently swaying in the leaves. The reader is encouraged to hunt for the sloth among the trees.
On the next page, “a metallic noise echoes through the forest” and a logging truck with a circular saw is spotted in the trees. But the sloth, “can you see it?”, sleeps through the whole thing.
Page after page, more and more of the pop-up forest cleverly disappears from the pages, destroyed by deforestation while the sloth in the middle of the forest continues to sleep. Eventually all the trees are gone, including the sloth.
But one day, a man comes and replants the forest. The mechanics of the pop up here are really clever with the reader pulling a handle and the sapling trees appearing to grow out of the page. By the last page, the forest has grown back again and the sloth, “can you see it?” is back in its tree.
My 5-year-old daughter absolutely loved this. She was so intrigued by the pop-ups, kept hunting for the little tiny sloth and walked around hugging the book to her chest. And of course, it isn’t just a wonderful story, it also highlights concerns about deforestation and opens discussions about looking after the environment.