The Woods by Paul Hoppe

woodsI love this charming picture book. The Woods tells the story of a little boy who must venture into the “woods” to find his lost bunny. He arms himself with his flashlight, but he isn’t afraid. Not until he meets a big, scary bear! The bear wasn’t actually scary though; he was just afraid of the dark. So, the little boy shares his nightlight with the bear and joins the boy on his quest to find his bunny. This pattern continues for the length of the book. After the bear, the boy meets two giants, and a fire-breathing triple-headed dragon until they come to a big, scary cave. Inside the save, they meet a big, hairy, scary blue monster! Just like the others, he’s not actually scary, but upset about something that the boy makes better. And the huge, scary blue monster has the boy’s bunny! But he only took the bunny because he was lonely in the dark, spooky cave. The boy agrees to share his bunny and the boy, the bear, the two giants, the triple-headed dragon, and the big, hairy, scary monster all head out of the woods and into the boy’s bedroom. The last image is the boy snuggled in his bed with his stuffed bunny, dragon, bear, and hairy, scary monster. I believe the giants were drawn on paper that are in this trash can at the start of the story, but are then crumpled and on the floor at the end of it.

This book immediately reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Just like Max, the boy in this book (who was never given a name) goes on an adventure, but the adventure is all in his head. Like Where the Wild Things Are, this book shows the imagination and creativity of children to make anything normal into something fantastical. This would be great for a multitude of programs including those on adventures, woods, being scared, getting over being scared, being kind to others, sharing with others, and even for a bedtime program as the book starts with the boy’s bedtime routine and ends with him going to bed.

Readalikes:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby
No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont
Mine! by Shutta Crum

Bibliographic Information:
Hoppe, Paul. The Woods. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, 2011. Print.

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