|Out of the woods : a true story of an unforgettable event|
Author: Bond, Rebecca
Inspired by the author's grandfather's experiences living in a lodge in the woods, a story of how people and animals survive a forest fire in a small Canadian town.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: .5 Quiz: 175321
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 7.40
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 66574
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/15)
School Library Journal (-) (03/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (09/15)
The Hornbook (+) (00/09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 K-Gr 3—This deceptively simple and original picture book recounts an event that happened to the author's grandfather when he was four years old. In 1914, Antonio Willie Giroux lived in a logging hotel run by his mother in the forest by Gowganda Lake in Ontario. Lively and bustling, the hotel catered to travelers and outdoorsmen, as well as to lumberjacks and silver miners. Antonio was an active little boy, curious about the doings of the employees and the goings on of the hotel, and his activities are described in detail. One night, a fire broke out in the woods, and everyone fled to the lake. Ordinarily, different guests inhabited separate areas of the hotel (with travelers on one floor and working men on another), but that night everyone stuck together—including the animals, who took refuge in the lake as well. Distinguished pen-and-ink illustrations with sepia-toned watercolor washes depict the events and characters realistically, dynamically conveying the movement and flow of the story. Some might doubt the plausibility of the animals and people standing so close together, though this is a minor quibble, as this book is less a strict biography and more a remembrance, with some artistic license taken. VERDICT While this wonderful, somewhat complex selection will be useful for those looking to use literature as a jumping-off point for introducing history, as with Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books, the story itself may lack child appeal and its message of unity may be lost on the intended audience.—Ellie Lease, Harford County Public Library, MD - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2015 In 1914, four-year-old Antonio lives with his mother in the hotel she runs next to Gowganda Lake in Ontario, Canada. The large hotel is inhabited by short-term visitors as well as long-term renters, including lumberjacks and trappers. Because there aren’t many children to play with, the boy spends his time with the hotel’s employees and residents. He also enjoys the surrounding forest but seldom sees animals as they stay away, due to the lodgers’ activities. One summer day, fire is spotted in the distance and quickly spreads through the forest toward the building. The only safe place is the nearby lake, and people rush toward that refuge. Watching in wonder, they’re soon joined by the forest animals fleeing the fire, including moose, porcupines, wolves, and deer. For the next several hours, humans and animals have one common goal—to survive. Sepia-tone backgrounds and scratchy pen-and-ink drawings add life to the remembrance and give it the appropriate, old-fashioned feel. Children will be fascinated with the story experienced by the author’s grandfather and passed down for generations. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 written and illus. by Rebecca Bond Most kids are fascinated with nature and particularly with animals, but their real-life encounters with most wildlife are likely to be constrained and tamed. Books, therefore, offer satisfying if vicarious opportunities to encounter wildlife beyond the occasional pavement-savvy squirrel or zoo-confined monkey. Bond’s Out of the Woods both encapsulates that desire and satisfies it, chronicling the extraordinary experience of a young boy in 1914 Ontario. Young Antonio Giroux loves living in his mother’s hotel, where the trappers and lumberjacks and travelers stay, surrounded by the Ontario wilderness. There are no other children there, so he happily tags along with the hotel workers all day and revels in the facility’s fascinating guests, who speak in many languages and carry fishing and hunting equipment. In the woods, he’s more conflicted; he knows that the animals are smart to stay hidden with the hotel’s guests hunting them, but he longs to see more of the bears and deer, moose and foxes that call the wilderness home. His wish comes true in an unexpected way: when a fire rages through the forest, he, his mother, and the hotel guests all take refuge in the adjacent lake, and soon the animals seek safety there as well (“Wolves stood beside deer, foxes beside rabbits. And people and moose stood close enough to touch”). Fortunately, the hotel is spared, and humans and animals all go back to their regular lives, but little Antonio is left with an indelible memory. The account, based on the author’s grandfather’s youthful experience, is more of a vignette than a plot-rich story, but Bond brings it all vividly alive. Even before the drama of the fire, her evocative, gently cadenced prose (“Here it smelled wonderful—of sweet tobacco and wood, wool and leather, and sweat”) effectively conjures Antonio’s fortunate life at the hotel, unobtrusively sharing adult work and camaraderie and enjoying enviable independence. The prose eschews dialogue entirely, giving the scenario a touch of distant glamour as well as a silent-movie stillness. That effect is most evident in the climactic moment where human and animal alike shelter in the lake, an event that is given full haunting magic without ever losing sight of the desperation behind the strange accord. The line and watercolor art uses dense hatching and cross-hatching so extensively that it suggests etching at times, but lines remain fluid; there are some echoes, in the soft linework, of Garth Williams’ Little House illustrations. The palette leans toward vintage tones, whether it be in the earthy wood of the hotel or the yellow-to-sepia glow of the lantern, but the detail of the events remains immediate, putting viewers in the middle of the period action. Bond draws smoothly on the architecture of the hotel, finding rhythms in the plank flooring and hallways, and also finds visual rhythm in the people, whether it’s in the line of suspenders at the dining table or the eerie, startlingly vertical formation of the humans in the lake against the amorphously blazing forest. Use this as a lead-in to Hill’s Bo at Ballard Creek (BCCB 9/13), another celebration of period kid life amid captivating wildness, as a dramatic and unexpected slice of historical life, or as a creative take on animal stories. An author’s note gives background for the story. (See p. 12 for publication information.) Deborah Stevenson, Editor - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.