In this sequel to Dear Peter Rabbit and Querido Pedrín we return to Hidden Forest with another delightful series of letters between some of the best-loved characters of children’s books, including Goldilocks, the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and their pursuers Fer O’Cious and Wolfy Lupus.
Leslie Tryon outdid herself with the illustrations of these books. The endearing portraits she had created in Dear Peter Rabbit are here surrounded by minute details which make me want to look at the illustrations over and over again. “Hidden Forest” became a reality in this book. What fun to know we have two more books of this series in the making!
You can read Leslie’s reflections about the creation of the Hidden Forest series in the chapter she wrote for Alma Flor Ada and You, volume II published by Libraries Unlimited in the series The Author and You.
In this sly picture book, Ada and Tryon make a return visit to the storybook backdrop of their Dear Peter Rabbit. While the sequel succeeds as a stand-alone, it offers double the fun in tandem with its predecessor. The exchange of letters among familiar characters: Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, Peter Rabbit, Little Red Riding Hood, Baby Bear and, of course, the Big Bad Wolf (aka Fer O’Cious) continues as the pigs invite their pals to their new, wolf-proof home for a housewarming party. The wolf, however, has been spying on the pigs, and he hatches a plan of his own, suggesting that his cousin join him in an ambush. But the wolves haven’t counted on Baby Bear’s mother and her swift reflexes. The mixing and matching of nursery favorites provides a lively framework for the epistolary conceit and allows even the youngest readers access to the inside track. Amusing details, meanwhile, hook older readers (Goldilocks, for instance, is imagined as Mr. McGregor’s daughter, and resides on Veggie Lane). Tryon enriches her delicate pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations with an abundance of delicious visual tidbits, as in the cover art, which shows the wolf on a stakeout, peering through a telescope at his prey. The ending hints of more adventures to come. A good news indeed. Ages 4-8.
School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3 – Like Dear Peter Rabbit (Atheneum, 1994), this charming book tells its story through an exchange of letters. Here Ada chronicles the attempt of the three little pigs to plan a housewarming party. Meanwhile the villains from the previous title are still up to no good, spying on the residents of the forest and planning an attack on the homeward-bound guests. Fortunately, the surprise is on them and the two wolves lose both their pride and their fur. This is fairy-tale fun at its best. Following these well-loved characters on a new adventure tickles the imagination with fanciful “what ifs.” Tryon’s wonderfully intricate colored drawings, with their delightful details and carefully wrought scenarios, bring the action to life. Perspective plays an important role in many of the pictures, from the wolf’s telescope-lens view of his victims, to an interior scene of Peter Rabbit’s den. Warm colors and sharp details pull readers right into the Hidden Forest. The climactic scenes are on wordless double-page spreads that perfectly convey a sense of frivolity and fear, while the final letter leaves readers hoping for yet another installment. Get on the mailing list for these letters. – Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY.
Ages 4-7. In this sequel to Dear Peter Rabbit (1994), a housewarming party is planned for the Three Little Pigs through a series of letters between the pigs, Goldilocks, Baby Bear, and Little Red Riding Hood. But the fairy tale characters aren’t the only ones exchanging letters. Big, bad cousins Wolfy Lupus and Fer O’Cious have heard about the party and are writing each other with some plans that spell trouble for the party goers. The letter format is a bit confusing at first but will gain appeal as kids get the characters straight in their minds. Each attractive two-page spread features a letter and a facing full-page picture of the letter writer, often shown in some action that extends the story. Fans of the previous book or lovers of fractured fairy tales will be the book’s natural audience. Ilene Cooper.
“First and foremost, engage children in reading their own writing/letters and the work of their peers. As well as providing students with a relevant genre in which to learn more about text structure, letter writing is very motivating for kids. Additionally, letters provide us with a relevant vehicle to teach students conventions and help them care about being mindful of conventions in their own writing.” Read more »
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