Title: The Hidden Forest
Author: Jeannie Baker
Illustrator: Jeannie Baker
Publisher: Walker Books UK
Publisher: Greenwillow Books USA
ISBN – Hardback: 0-688-15760-2 (trade USA)
ISBN – Hardback: 0-688-08918-6 (lib. ed. USA)
ISBN – Hardback: 1-85681-010-0 (UK)
ISBN – Paperback: 0-7445c7876-0
ISBN – Big Book: 0-84428 518-9
Themes: Wonder, Environment, Conservation, Forrest, Diversity, Nature, Beauty
‘When you see kelp forest under the water and you’re looking up, the sun is like the light of the sky, it penetrates the water’s surface and shoots rays down as in a rainforest. The forest is very magical and mysterious and fish, appear at times, like birds flying through the trees’. Jeannie Baker
The Hidden Forest is another unique masterpiece from the author who brought us titles The Forest Beneath the Sea and Window.
In The Hidden Forest Baker once again combines her passion for conservation and extraordinary talent with collage with an endearing story of discovery and wonder. The story follows Ben, a boy who, after getting his small fish trap caught in an underwater kelp forest, sets out on a snorkelling adventure to unhook the trap. Led by his eco-conscious friend Sophie, Ben discovers the beauty and diversity hidden beneath the surface of the bay.
Wonders such as the multi-layered, multi-textured kelp forest, the many different types of fish and even a whale are all part of Ben’s journey to discover that the underwater world is a place where everything has it’s purpose and needs to be respected and valued.
This story is, like all of Baker’s creations, a visual smorgasbord of colours and textures, inspired by the kelp forests on Tasmania’s Tasman Peninsula. Baker used a multitude of natural materials including seaweeds, sponges and sands in the construction of her illustrations and reader’s can find illuminating information on the endangered kelp forests and Baker’s creation process on the final page.
This book is again, a beautiful and inspiring encouragement of valuing and respecting our natural environment and a wonderful tool for educating the generations to come.
Review written by Holly Lobb, November 2010.