As of breakfast this morning, I still hadn’t decided what novel to read next. After all, I still had some recovery and cleaning left after having company. But I did want something to read with my first meal of the day…and I realized it was Earth Day. So, perhaps something somewhat related to that. Thus I grabbed an old children’s book off the shelf. This is The First Forest, written by John Gile and illustrated by Tom Heflin.
I’ve had this book for close to thirty years, and it is one that I’ve never forgotten. The colored pencil illustrations are lovely, and it was signed by the author back in 1990, making it the first signed book I actually owned. I also remember playing a game with this – Tom Heflin included his signature in each of the illustrations, and so I’d go and find them all. (This wasn’t very hard. They tend to be in the same spot every time. But you try telling seven-year-old me that.)
Now, it’s my understanding that this is not an especially well-known children’s book, so I can imagine that most people don’t know the story. It’s actually less related to Earth Day than you might expect, given how I started this post. Sure, it’s about a forest and trees, but it’s not about conservation or pollution or anything like that. This is a fable of why we have deciduous trees.
Essentially, the moral of the book is to not be selfish, greedy, or harmful to others. A perfectly good message for any children’s book. Also I have always been amused by the image of trees wearing bandages and splints. It’s a classic in my library, and will remain so.
As for my next novel of choice, I think it may be this month’s Book of the Month. So far, for those keeping track, there’s been one I absolutely despised and two that I really enjoyed. Since Book of the Month offers a choice of five books (or skipping the month and therefore extending the subscription by a month), it may just be that I chose wrongly that one time. I guess we’ll have to see what happens this month!