A forest by Marc Martin

cover image

Penguin Viking, 2012. ISBN 9780 570 07645 1.
Picture book. Sustainability. A deft introduction to the ideas behind Sustainability, one of the focusses of the new Australian Curriculum, this picture book shows the destruction caused by man to a forest, and by implication, the whole world. The cycle of destruction is turned upon man for his stupidity leading to the forest's regeneration.
From the start, a few trees are cut down, man taking enough to live upon, but then he becomes greedy and begins to cut more and more, leading to the rise of tall cities, overwhelming the land once covered by the forests. As a result, the rains are heavier and denude the cities, causing them to be swept away, and eventually the forest returns.
Each page is a delight for small children to search out the different sort of trees rendered in water colour, pencil and ink. They will not help but be anxious when the trees are cut down, leading the way for buildings to be erected over the now barren land. Cities rise from the places where the forests once were, and turning the pages readers will be struck by the use of water colour to give a haunting impression of the denuding of the cities in grey, green and dreary rain clouds. The symmetry of the book is hypnotic, leading the reader to ponder a brighter future where forests again reign supreme.
This book would make a great introduction to the topic of sustainability in the classroom, and could be well compared with treats such as those produced by Jeannie Baker.
Fran Knight