Author and Illustrator: Naoko Stoop
Age Range: 3+
Genre: Fantasy/Picture Book
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
First sentence: In the forest there is time to wonder about everything.
The little red knit cap girl loves spending time in the forest, for in the forest there is time to wonder about everything. She and her friends wonder about nature, the flowers and clouds but mostly she wonders about the moon. She’d love to talk to the moon but has no success in reaching her for she’s too far away and finally seeks the advice of the wise old owl. She and her friends eventually decide to throw a party with lanterns and singing but the moon still doesn’t appear. It’s not until the lights are out and everyone is quiet that the moon can finally be seen.
There is a simple sort of magic in being still and quiet and the red knit cap girl rediscovers this truth. All who read this will want to do the same. We don’t spend enough time wondering, pondering, and just basking in the silence and our lives are the poorer for it.
I love the illustrations! They are light and luminescent, the sky changing from blue to red and back again throughout the day. The wood grain pattern shows through the painted backgrounds (including the starry end pages!) complementing the ‘return to nature’ aspect. The creatures are realistic yet with an other-worldly quality to them that enhances the magical feel while still keeping it completely believable. The girl also has rounded edges and tiny eyes, making her fit right in with her woodland friends. I even love the touch of creepiness in the forest as she approaches the owl and the fact that she has to try multiple times to get his attention. All good things require a bit of bravery and effort.
There’s not much to dislike here; it’s just a simple yet profound message encapsulated in a magical setting. I’d love to use this in conjunction with a midsummer or fairy celebration and read it before going outside for a moon watching expedition or a midnight tea party.