June 11, 2017


Polish illustrator Maria Dek's debut picture book A Walk in the Forest is a masterfully illustrated and sparsely texted picture book about exploring the wonder of nature and understanding why we should be working to preserve the world around us for future generations.

A boy walks into a forest one day to experience the wonder within, marveling at the birds and the trees, relishing in being able to shout as loud as he can, and meeting new animals around every corner. He explores the forest like it's a playground from dawn until dusk, only leaving when it gets dark (though bravely stating that it's even magical at night). As readers we can't help but get swept up in the child's enthusiasm for the magical and playful space around him: his imagination is brimming as he pays hide-and-seek, finds treasure, and runs wild through the jungle. The last line of the book, "You'll go there tomorrow, when you're older," gives readers the subtle task of not just acknowledging the beauty in nature, but working toward preserving it for future generations to enjoy, too. 

The illustrations are watercolor, which is just absolutely the perfect complement to the gentle nature and subject of the story. The spreads alternate between white backgrounds with images painted on top and watercolors that stretch from one corner of the spread to the other. The endpapers are slightly different from each other so that they serve as visual, narrative bookends for the story, and the off-white paper gives the book a sweeter feel, as though it has been passed down from parent to child, the same message relevant with each new generation.

A Walk in the Forest published from Princeton Architectural Press in April. 

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