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The Hidden Forest


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About the Author

Jeannie Baker is well known for the strong environmental messages underlying many of her picture books, as well as her striking collage style. Jeannie lives in Australia.


Gr 1-3-A boy loses his fish trap just off the coast of Tasmania, and is helped to retrieve it by a diver friend who wants to take him along to see "the world under the waves." This simple plot furnishes the mechanism by which readers are taken on a visually fascinating tour through a kelp forest shown in vibrantly colorful and amazingly detailed collages. The constructions incorporate natural materials such as pressed seaweed, sponges, and sand; the kelp itself is modeled with a translucent artist's clay, and the realism is extraordinary. The golds and greens of the kelp form a vivid contrast to the blue water and create the illusion that viewers are indeed looking upward through a waving, moving forest of living seaweed. By the end, the boy is so impressed by the beauty around him that he empties his catch from the fish trap so that the creatures may remain in their "mysterious, hidden world," and readers will be in complete agreement. An author's note contains brief but interesting information about kelp forests.-Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"When you see kelp forest under the water and you're looking up, the sun is like the light of the sky: it penetrates the water's surface and shoots rays down as in a rainforest. The forest is very magical and mysterious, and fish appear at times, like birds flying through the trees." Jeannie Baker"

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