Once Upon A Forest (Pam Fong)

Hello, friends! So sorry for the technical difficulties we’ve been having this week, but I think we’ve got them cleared up – on to our next review! Today we’re looking at Once Upon A Forest by Pam Fong, a lovely meditation on the love and care that goes into helping something grow.

As a little marmot tends her small garden one day, she spies a whisp of smoke. Following it, she sees that it is the result of a small fire in her forest, one that humans have just extinguished. The marmot gathers her supplies, including a few tiny sprouts, and heads off with her bird friend to scout the situation. Finding several burned-out trees, she mourns them briefly, then gets to work: clearing the burnt roots, tilling the soil, and planting new seedlings. She camps near them through wind, heat, and snow, protecting and nourishing them as they grow. When the seedlings have grown to young sturdy trees, the marmot heads home, her job done… until the next time she is needed.

Hopeful and heartwarming. A simple tale of the kindnesses we sow in dark times told entirely through pictures, this sweet title exemplifies delicate gentleness in both its visuals and narrative. Fong beautifully captures the spirit of growth and renewal after tragedy in the soft grayscale illustrations, using color only to draw attention to the plants and the things that give them life, sunlight and water. The fluffy marmot and her faithful bird companion are expressive and endearing, and the theme is a classic one with a timeless message. Without text, the length is what you make it, but JJ really enjoyed verbalizing the story as she watched it play out. Overall, this one is absolutely worth a look, and a touching reminder of why our small kindnesses matter in times of trouble – because they can grow into big things. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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