Wisdom of the Woods: What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon
FOREST KNOWS SNOW.
A boy, in knitted red cap and red boots, sets out to walk in the winter woods, his dog running ahead into the snow-drifted evergreens.
At first the forest seems empty except for frozen cascades of icicles. The squirrels and bugs are sleeping through the winter and the few birds are quiet, conserving energy. Not much is moving---except, just over a hummock of snow, his fox-red dog's tail wags as he breaks the trail ahead.
But time moves on, too, and soon a walk in the woods brings change.
FOREST KNOWS BUDS.
The woods are the soft green of spring, and the sounds of busy birds fills the air, And soon...
FOREST KNOWS LEAVES, HELD OUT LIKE HANDS.
CUPPING SUNLIGHT, TURNING IT INTO FOOD.
FOREST KNOWS FRUIT.
The boy, now dressed for warm weather, follows his dog through the green world, spotting the animals making the most of the season of growth. The dog runs ahead, looking for deer. But all too soon...
FOREST KNOWS GATHERING IN, LETTING GO.
George Ella Lyon's What Forest Knows (Atheneum Books, 2014) focuses on the wisdom and ways of the woods as the earth makes its annual trek around the sun. Lyon is the master of lyric narration, as she shows in this short song of the seasons. Into a still scene, the boy watching the woods change, artist August Hall adds movement and color with his dog, always moving, appearing in part on each page--his tail, his muzzle nosing into the thicket, his front legs still for a moment, and a glimpse of his back as he follows a deer, but not fully seen until the last pages, as the two bid the bright autumn goodbye.
Hall's palette varies with the season, gray-grown trunks and snow-draped evergreens mauve and lavender and blue with the snow, soft hues of greening in the spring, dappled sun on deep green foliage, and glowing leaves and dark formations of migrating geese against the sunset in the fall. This book urges the child to be still and feel the rightness of it all. Together author and artist chronicle the turning of time in nature, but as Lyons' closing reminds the reader...
FALL KNOWS... EVERYTHING BELONGS.
George Ella Lyon's is also the author of the award-winning The Pirate of Kindergarten. (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))