'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Review: Beware The Deep Dark Forest

Multi-talented Sue Whiting has collaborated with gifted illustrator Annie White to create an enthralling picture book full of adventure, danger, and obstacles to overcome. 

Sue Whiting uses alliteration, assonance and repetition to capture the rhythm and accent of certain words when read aloud. These words are presented in bold type which enhances the overall design of this beautiful book.

Rosie has been told not to venture into the deep dark forest because of the dangers lurking there.  

Carnivorous plants, and venomous snakes, grandma and dad say are said to be hiding there. When her pup Tinky runs into the dense and dangerous forest, Rosie goes to rescue him, disregarding what she has been told.

That most of us will go to any lengths to save the thing we love, is the dominant theme in this book. It is a story of courage played out by a young girl who wants to save her young impetuous pup who doesn’t know what danger is, and is bent on discovering the world beyond his boundaries. (This could be a metaphor for any of us when protecting our young ones from their need to be independent).

Annie White has created a magical world of trees and forests for Rosie to chase Tinky through. The petite girl against the towering trees allows the reader to gauge her intent and determination to find her lost pup. Snakes entwined with twisted thorny vines, sleeping wolves and a menacing muddy monstrous troll cannot keep Rosie from her mission.

The story’s artwork is created with gentle coloured layered watercolour and Rosie’s exquisite face, whether searching or upturned, shows concern, but only for the lost dog.

This book is challenging in many ways. It follows the fairytale style which incorporates wild things, dangers, and frightening characters which may be seen as too confronting for early readers. But as we are reminded, we have been brought up with stories of ogres, beasts and witches that did horrible things. We loved the fixed concentration they extracted from us while reading those stories.

This is one of those wondrous books that will excite the imagination of daring children. I find that the people choosing children’s books are astute enough to decide whether the contents are appropriate or not for their individual child. Therefore, read it with an open mind and allow the excellence of its creation to overrule all else.

Title: Beware the Deep Dark Forest
Author: Sue Whiting
Illustrator: Annie White
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: October 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781742032344
For ages: 4 - 6
Type: Picture Book

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