The book Into the Forest written and illustrated by Anthony Browne is a fictional picture book in which a little boy is the main character.
Having noticed that his father has gone missing and his mother is not mentioning it, a little boy is asked to take a basket of goods to his grandma who is poorly. Along his way through the forest he encounters some characters that many of us might recognise from other fairytales; he also comes face to face with his fears and his anxieties about his dad being missing.
Anthony Browne uses many connotations to well known fairy tales within his writing as well as his illustrations. Although this is a children’s picture book “Into the Woods” is an oddly dark and unnerving story. There are dialogues between characters, but no real description of scenery and feelings that the characters might have as everything is perceived within the illustrations.
This book is a spin-off of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. It tells the story of a little boy who is woken up in the middle of the night and finds his dad missing. He goes to find his mum and ask her but the question remains unanswered for the little boy. During the day the little boy is asked by his mum to give food to his grandmother. The little boy happily agrees because he loves his grandmother and enjoys the story times they have had together. As any mother of a child would, mum asks the little boy to go the safe way and not through the forest. However, the little boy ignores this and walks through the forest. On route to his grandmother’s house he meets many strangers all whom resemble the characters from other fairytale stories. These characters come across as evil but in fact they are feeling lost in this forest too. The suspense comes to an end where the boy finally meets his dad and grandmother.
The sentences used in this book are short and simple. It is written in first person and the emphasis on images creates mystery and suspense for the reader. What is even more appealing is how the images in the forest appear in black and white to show the little boy feeling scared and worried as he walks through. It is a great book for children to understand emotions and the special connection this little boy had with his father and grandmother. The author does a fantastic job in dealing with children’s anxiety. From a child’s perspective he tells the story how children worry about adults who are really close to them. Yet, parents are too busy to explain why something is different as in the book when the mother did not explain to the little boy that daddy was by his ill grandmother.
This book is a favourite of mine because it works wonderfully well with both adults and children since it is something where both groups can relate to.
- Reading Age: 8 - 10 years old
This book is great for use with children as you can use all of the illustrations to try and make them guess what is going to happen next, describe the scenery but also enables them to use their imagination freely just as Anthony Browne does when writes his stories.
If you like this you might like
- Through the magic mirror - Anthony Browne
- The tunnel - Anthony Browne
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