Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Forest Bath Right Down This Path by Lisa Robinson!

It's happy book birthday time—I love days like this! Today's celebration hits a picture book and heads out into a forest. Living in the Ozarks, we're surrounded by forests, but I'll admit that I'm beginning my 'avoid straying off the path' phase of the year (too many ticks and poison ivy). As a kid, I remember heading up into the Rockies for family picnics and short camping sprees quite a bit (also ticks). Even then, it was always a treat to step into the forest...as if heading into a whole, new world.

by Lisa Robinson
Illustrated by Khoa Le
Sounds True
Picture Book
32 pages

Join in a forest bathing adventure as a young girl helps her father to leave his cell phone behind and embrace the sights, smells, and sounds of the natural world around him.

On a sticky summer day, when it is too hot to do anything, Kayla suggests a forest bath. Daddy needs a little more convincing, but soon they are heading into the forest.

Kayla takes in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world around her. Cinnamon fern and bunchberry grow in the shade. The packed dirt under Kayla’s feet is hard and the sunlight through the branches is soft. She breathes a symphony of scents―soil, sedge, and moss―and finds a stream with an icy current. A black-throated green warbler trills in the distance zee-zee-zee-zoo-zee.

As the worries and distractions of the day melt away, Kayla and her father relax and enjoy the pleasure of forest bathing―and of being together.

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Calmness, serenity and discovery are sure to be found with every step through this read and nature.

Kayla's excited as her father joins her on a picnic, but he can't seem to get his nose away from his cell phone. She finally lures him into a walk into the forest and marvels at the wonderful atmosphere. Little by little and with a tiny trick, maybe Kayla can find a way for them both to see how marvelous the forest is.

While the father will put smirks on the faces as children and reader both identify with his cell phone obsession, this book isn't really centered on this theme and holds more. This book is about the atmosphere and enjoyment a walk through the forest provides. Kayla tugs her father through the trees, making small discoveries along the way. She stops and enjoys. To highlight these pauses and breaths, the author slides in small poems, which meld right along with the story. It's a clever way to bring the atmosphere of 'taking in the surroundings' across.

The illustrations flow as natural as the forest. As Kayla discovers moss, creeks and more, the listeners dive into the world right along with her. There were quite a few bare/dead (?) trees in this forest, which made me stop and wonder, but that's just a stray thought of mine. These will have listeners wanting to take a journey to the great outdoors themselves. At the end of the book, there is also a little information surrounding the theme of 'forest bathing', and yes, seems to be a true term.  It's a lovely read, especially now as Spring has awakened and invites outdoors. 

And here they are...

Lisa Robinson has a BA in psychology from Cornell University, an MD from Tufts University, and an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. She works as a therapist for children, teenagers, and adults, and is the author of numerous picture books. Lisa lives in Newton, Massachusetts. Learn more at author-lisa-robinson.com.

Khoa Le is an award-winning illustrator, graphic designer, and painter based in Vietnam. She has illustrated multiple books for children, including The Fish Who Found the Sea, The Most Beautiful Thing, and Beatrice Likes the Dark. Learn more at khoaleartwork.com.

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