Tales From the Forest is a delightful collection of stories based around animals and nature, covering a wide variety of creatures that is bound to include those that children know of or have seen, while introducing some that they may not be as familiar with. It is divided into four sections to cover the seasons, with animals often chosen for each season to allow for opportunities to teach something about that particular animal’s behaviour or life cycle that is unique to them.
Each story is roughly five pages long and in a clear type of a good size that makes it easy for children to trace their progress along a line with a finger or a reading aid, or to follow along with an adult reading to them. The length of the stories makes them ideal for those who are moving from picture books with only a few lines of text to something more challenging, while still maintaining those familiar features, for each story has pages in a different colour, bearing illustrations around the edges and at least one full-page picture to go with each tale. The stories themselves contain words that young readers would be familiar with and introduces more complex and nature-specific vocabulary, particularly when unique animal behaviours and features are reached. At the end of each one, there’s a rhyme that teaches and reminds children about what is unique and special about each animal, the rhyming scheme something that makes it fun to recite and doubles as an aid to remembering what they’ve learned.
The illustrations are beautiful and accompany each tale with a full-page image of the animal(s) in the story, referencing moments from the narrative. They’re a gorgeous mix of watercolour and pencil images, the details picked out in the latter and creating great depth and texture, especially when it comes to the animals themselves – it’s almost as if you can feel the different in texture between the boar’s fur and that of the mouse. The pages of the stories are edged with bits and pieces from the creatures’ habitats, and sometimes even contain full backgrounds and additional pictures of the animal that is the focus of the story. I’ve tried time and again to decide on an absolute favourite picture from the book, but I can never choose just one!
Tales From the Forest would make a lovely book to read with children at bedtime and to inspire greater confidence in reading. With Christmas approaching, it’s something that would make an ideal gift for nature-loving younger family members, and is an appealing and pleasingly put together book with a lovely cover and end-pages. Thank you, Little Tiger Books, for sending me a copy!