Into the Forest

414098 Browne, A. (2004). Into the Forest. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. Author illustrator Anthony Browne has amassed an impressive collection of award-winning picture books. Known for his postmodernist approach, Into the Forest is no exception.  A boy is awoken in the middle of the night by a storm, establishing a sense of foreboding. The diagonal lines in the shadows immediately put us on edge, and we turn the page to discover the father is not home. Suddenly morphing into a rendition of Little Red Riding Hood, the boy sets off through the woods to grandma’s. He encounters characters from several fairy tales, and we can pick up hidden clues in the illustrations, especially in multiple reads. Browne’s style forces readers to be conscious that the story world is juxtaposed to reality. The darkness in the black and white pictures of the forest are distressful and scary, while the brightness of the colour used elsewhere is a vivid contrast. The suspense is compelling and the chaotic world is absolutely reflected. Readers must make connections for themselves, such as finding the references of fairy tales. It is in this way that Browne is inviting us to co-author his book. His illustrations are done in pencil and watercolour with spots of salient red, offering cohesiveness to the reading.

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