20th July '17
I’ve been excited to read this book for months, after seeing the gorgeous illustrations on several bookish Instagram feeds over the spring. I was not disappointed!
The story reminded me a little of some of the Percy the Park Keeper books I used to read as a child, but with a more overt ecological message. The lumberjack goes about his day and in doing his job, damages the homes of some forest creatures. His solution? For the animals to live in his enormous beard. This quickly becomes uncomfortable, but his kind solution is to shave off his beard so the animals can continue to live there. As his beard grows back, so too he helps the forest to recover, and it is clear that he has learned to appreciate the forest in its natural state. Perhaps the story hits you over the head with its message of care for the environment, but at this point in time I find it an incredibly pertinent message to share with children.
The illustrations are in a very modern, graphic, stripped back style with a slightly muted colour palate. this often bothers me as I find that the children I read to don’t find these pictures very accessible, but this is not the case here. The animals in the story have lots of character and I particularly enjoyed the playful contrast between the bearded and cleanshaven lumberjack. The element of pattern in the background helped to reinforce both the scale of the forest and the extent of the destruction the lumberjack was (unintentionally? unknowingly?) causing.
I think that this would be a fantastic book to share with children from the age of 3, and it works just as well read one on one as in front of a larger group.