Monday, March 18, 2019

Review - The Woods

The Woods
by Rob Hodgson
Date: 2019
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Here are the woods. The woods are home to three foxes on a hunt for rabbits. Three foxes that don’t realize someone might be following them… From the author of The Cave, this is a fantastically funny cat-and-mouse (or fox-and-rabbit) story with a not-so-fluffy twist.

The foxes follow some helpful signs over the tallest trees, under the carrot fields, and through the pumpkin patch, but there’s no sign of any rabbits. What on earth has happened to them? And why are there strange eyes following them from the trees?

Children will love outwitting the foxes—who continually say, "No rabbits here"—by spotting the rabbits in each colorful illustration.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I can see how this book will have an audience... but it's not me.

The illustrations are just okay. Actually, they're kind of weird. The stylized foxes are sort of funny, but they also don't look much like foxes, aside from their colouring. Also, what is up with the pink worm? When it's drawn wearing hats, it just looks phallic.

The main problem I have with this book is the story. The foxes go in search of rabbits to eat, following signs that someone has laid out for them. Eventually, we find out that it was the rabbits luring the foxes into a trap, and the book ends with all the foxes in the rabbits' giant net. Okay... but what happens next? Rabbits aren't carnivores (unless this is a really scary children's book), so what are they going to do with their bag of foxes? Why did they trap them in the first place? (Self-defense, maybe... but are they just planning on leaving them in the net forever?) It's kind of a weak ending.

Maybe this author/illustrator has fans that love the style and the quirky nature of the stories, but I don't think I'm going to be one of them. While I don't think this is a terrible book, I'm not in any hurry to read it again or seek out any of the author's other work.

Thank you to NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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