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Hush Hush, Forest
Wake Up, Island
written by Mary Casanova
illus. by Nick Wroblewski
University of Minnesota Press
August 2018
(HC) 978-0-8166-9425-9
Hush Hush, Forest  
Book Description:

Lyrical words and elegant woodcuts capture the quiet beauty of the forest as day fades to night and autumn gives way to the North Woods winter

While we are tucked in, snug in warm blankets as we listen to bedtime stories, the woods around us whisper another tale. As the golden leaves waft through the lengthening shadows, the loon sings one last lullaby, the whirring hummingbird takes one last sip, the industrious beaver saws one last branch for her lodge. Here, in enchanting words and woodcuts, is the magic of night falling and winter approaching in the North Woods. Hush Hush, Forest peers through twilight’s window at the raccoon preening, the doe and fawn bedding down, the last bat of the season flitting away. The owl surveys, the rabbit scurries, the bear hunkers, readying her den.

Marking the rhythm between the falling leaf and the falling snowflake, picturing the rituals of creatures big and small as they prepare for the long winter’s sleep, this charming book captures a time of surpassing wonder for readers of all ages—and bids everyone in the hushed forest a peaceful good night.

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Reviews and Comments

This nature-themed picture book brings readers through autumn and just into winter.

Author Casanova and illustrator Wroblewski team up to deliver an homage to the North American woods as autumn slips into winter. Casanova’s singsong rhyming text is filled with evocations of the quiet busyness of common forest animals—deer, bear, beaver, and owl, among year-round residents, and such summer visitors as loon and hummingbird—as they prepare for winter months ahead. The narrative doesn’t give nature information so much as it soothes and quiets readers’ spirits with its gentle and lyrical telling of preparation and rest. Wroblewski’s full-color woodcut illustrations feature masterful design in their overall composition and accuracy in their depiction of nature—and here is where more information about the nature of the animals and the environment can be found. Beavers fell trees, and the illustration shows exactly how that tree trunk looks after it has been gnawed by the animal’s large front teeth. Raccoons catch crayfish, and the illustration shows them rolling the crustaceans in the stream before eating, as they do. In the illustrations’ splendid accuracy, the grandeur of the natural world speaks for itself. The illustrations’ movement and flow belie their laborious technique; fur appears textured, the sky is subtle, viewpoints are stimulating, and the animals move fluidly. The two humans shown appear white.

A soothing and superb story to read to nature lovers at bedtime. (Picture book. 3-7)

Kirkus Reviews

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