Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist

Forest Baby by Laurie Elmquist
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

From a carrier, a baby peers out at the trail. Leaves rustle overhead, and a turtle stretches toward the sun. Everything shimmers with light, including the jeweled wings of a dragonfly and the star-shaped lilies. This delightful board book takes the reader on a hike accented by the soft sound of footsteps on the trail and grounded by the rhythmic rocking of mother and baby moving through the forest. Travel along on their serene journey with Laurie Elmquist’s lyrical verse and Shantala Robinson’s warmly painted collages. A beautiful book that will be treasured by anyone who loves the outdoors.

No one is ever too young to appreciate nature.

It was beautiful to experience a forest scene through the perspective of a toddler who was seeing, smelling, touching, and hearing everything for the first time. Small things like maple trees shedding their seeds or a turtle who wandered nearby were enough to cause excitement for this character. Those moments made me smile and wonder what this family might discover next on their nature walk.

I would have preferred to see a little bit of conflict included in the plot. While I understood the gentle approach it took in order to appeal to the youngest age range that can possibly sit and listen to a brief story time, the storyline would have been stronger if the characters had been given some sort of challenge to overcome even if it were a mild one like an approaching thunderstorm. As peaceful as their forest walk was, this was something I’d struggle to read over and over again due to how few things happened in it.

The ending was satisfying. I appreciated the way it wrapped up this particular excursion while also making the audience wonder what this mother and child might see the next time they spent an afternoon in the woods or had some other adventure. It could have easily led to a sequel or simply allowed readers to come up with their own theories about what happened next. I always like it when that happens.

Forest Baby was a sweet and mellow take on what an autumn hike can be like for a young family.

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