Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Looking Closely through the Forest

Looking Closely through the Forest

Frank Serafini
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Kids Can Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1554532124

When you go out into nature and take the time to look around you, you will see all kinds of incredible things. Imagine what it would be like if you had a camera that you could use to zoom in on one particular leaf, flower, ripple of water, insect, or drop of dew. Suddenly you would not be looking at the big picture anymore; instead, you would be looking as one little part of the big picture.

In this gorgeous and beautifully presented picture book, Frank Serafini zooms in on a number of things that are found in a forest. He begins by showing us some red things that look like “lizard tongues” or “flickering flames.” He asks us. “What could it be?” When we turn the page we see that what were looking at are the tips of some maple leaves that are lying on the ground. It is fall, and the leaves have turned red, bronze, and gold.

Later on in the book, we see a picture of something that looks like beige “flakes of oatmeal” on an orange background. What is this? On the next page, we see that we were looking at a part of a spotted toadstool. The text tells us that toadstools are also called mushrooms. Many wild toadstools are poisonous and should not be eaten.

In this special book, Frank Serafini shows us that nature is full of mini worlds that are interesting, beautiful, and worth exploring. If you get down on your hands and knees, you might see a beautiful grouping of toadstools, a little frog sitting in a puddle, or a millipede crawling through some moss. If you look up you might see the gorgeous textures of  birch tree bark and the strange shapes of some fungus that is growing on a tree trunk.

The beautiful photographs throughout this book are accompanied by interesting pieces of text that help young readers to better appreciate what they are looking at.